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Lok Sabha passes Citizenship Amendment Bill: What it means

The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill despite objections raised by the Opposition. The bill aims to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: December 10, 2019 0:18 IST
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Lok Sabha passes Citizenship Amendment Bill. What it means

The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill despite objections raised by the Opposition. The bill aims to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. 311 votes were polled in favor of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill while 80 in opposition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Home Minister Amit Shah on the passage of bill. "I would like to especially applaud Home Minister Amit Shah ji for lucidly explaining all aspects of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. He also gave elaborate answers to the various points raised by respective MPs during the discussion in the Lok Sabha," the prime minister said in his tweet. 

Opposition calls bill 'unconstitutional', Shah rejects allegations:

Opposition leaders Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Saugata Roy, N K Premchandran, Gaurav Gogoi, Shashi Tharoor and Assaduddin Owaisi opposed the bill. While defending the introduction of the bill, Shah said the Congress had "divided" the country on the basis of religion that is why it was necessary to bring the bill and added that it was brought on the basis of reasonable classifications provided under the Constitution.

Rejecting suggestions that the bill is anti-Muslim, Shah said the measure has the endorsement of 130 crore citizens of the country as it was the part of the BJP manifesto in 2014 as well as 2019 Lok Sabha elections. "We will have to differentiate between intruders and refugees. Citizenship amendment bill does not discriminate against anyone and does not snatch anyones rights," Shah said while initiating the debate on the contentious bill.

Trying to allay apprehensions of people of the Northeast, Shah said the Narendra Modi Government is committed to protect the customs and culture of people of the region and informed that Manipur will be brought under Inner Line Permit regime, where the proposed law will not be applicable.

The home minister said under the proposed legislation, citizenship will be granted to refugees coming from the three countries after facing religious persecution there even without documents, including ration cards.

Noting that India has given similar rights to people in the past, Shah said Manmohan Singh and L K Advani could become prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively due to this after they came from present day Pakistan.

Asaduddin Owaisi tears Citizenship (Amendment) Bill:

AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi tore apart a copy of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill during a heated debate in the Lok Sabha. This bill brings another partition, Owaisi said, adding that it is diving the country. Earlier in the day, Owaisi stirred controversy when he hurled a controversial remark on Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Owaisi said Home Minister will be mentioned in a league of Hitler with the introduction of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill: What it means

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill aims to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Parsi faiths who entered India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for citizenship. The bill wants to make it easier for non-Muslim immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to become citizens of India. 

If a person belonging to the aforemention faiths, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, does not have proof of birth of parents, they can apply for Indian citizenship after six years of residence in India. 

The amendment applies to people who were "forced or compelled to seek shelter in India due to persecution on the ground of religion..."

Under the Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the requirement for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, as well as for 11 of the previous 14 years. 

The amended bill relaxes the second requirement from 11 years to 6 years as a specific condition for applicants belonging to these six religions, and the aforementioned three countries.

ALSO READ | Citizenship (Amendment) Bill: What it means

ALSO READ | In dramatic protest, Asaduddin Owaisi tears apart copy of Citizenship Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha

 

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