Expressing delight over the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the proposed law is in line with India's centuries old ethos of assimilation and belief in humanitarian values. Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Modi said, "Delighted that the Lok Sabha has passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 after a rich and extensive debate. I thank the various MPs and parties that supported the Bill. This Bill is in line with India's centuries old ethos of assimilation and belief in humanitarian values."
He said he would like to specially applaud Home Minister Amit Shah for lucidly explaining all aspects of the measure.
"He also gave elaborate answers to the various points raised by respective MPs during the discussion in Lok Sabha," Modi said.
The prime minister, who addressed election rallies in Jharkhand earlier in the day, was not present in the House during the passage of the Bill.
Commenting on the Bill, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will extend persecuted non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan dignity and an opportunity to rebuild their lives after the proposed legislation was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday night.
In a series of tweets, Shah also expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making the Bill a reality.
"I extend my gratitude to PM @narendramodi for making the historic Citizenship Amendment Bill a reality, that will allow India to open its doors to minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who are facing religious persecution. I thank everyone who supported this bill."
"It is well known that those minorities who chose to make Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan their home had to constantly live in the fear of extinction. This amended legislation by Modi govt will allow India to extend them dignity and an opportunity to rebuild their lives," he said.
The Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there, a little past midnight on Monday after a heated debate that lasted over seven hours.
The Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it, will now be tabled in the Rajya Sabha for its nod.
Several amendments brought by opposition members, including one by a Shiv Sena MP, were defeated either by voice vote or division.
According to the proposed legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014 facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.