Issuing a whip, the Bharatiya Janata Party has asked all MPs of the Rajya Sabha to remain present in the House on December 10 and December 11. The controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha during midnight hour, after a heated debate that stretched for hours, now awaits its passage in the upper house of the Parliament.
The Bill is likely to be moved in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, to cross its final hurdle before becoming a law to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha after a heated debate which stretched for seven hours. Among a total of 391 members present in the Lower House, 311 voted in favour of the Bill while 80 voted against it.
In a hard-hitting reply to the debate on the proposed legislation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said people belonging to any religion should not have any fear under the Modi government as he asserted that the bill will give relief to those minorities who have been living a painful life after facing persecution in neighbouring countries.
Shah also said the Modi government will definitely implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country and when it will be done, not a single illegal immigrant will remain in the country.
Shah said there is a difference between illegal immigrants and those who have come after facing religious persecution in the three neighbouring countries.
"No one should have any fear of being persecuted under the Narendra Modi government," he said after nearly seven-hour-long debate which was marked by fiery speeches by MPs belonging to both the opposition and the ruling alliance.
The home minister said had India not been divided on religious lines in 1947, there was no need for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
"Muslim population in India has increased from 9.8 per cent in 1951 to 14.8 per cent in 2011 while the Hindu population has decreased from 84 per cent in 1951 to 79 per cent in 2011.
"Whereas, the minority population in Pakistan has decreased from 23 per cent in 1947 to 3.7 per cent in 2011. Similarly, minority population in Bangladesh has decreased from 22 per cent in 1947 to 7 per cent in 2011," he said, adding India does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of religion.
The home minister said the Citizenship Bill will give relief and constitutional respect to those who have been living a painful life after facing persecution in neighbouring countries.
Shah dismissed the suggestions that the Bill is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality for everyone, as it aims to give citizenship to persecuted people only.