The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, despite massive protests in Assam.
The bill will amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian nationality to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — fleeing persecution from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12.
This was an election promise of the BJP in 2014.
Speaking in Parliament during the debate over the bill Home Minister Rajnath Singh said:
He also said that the BJP and the government at the Centre was also committed to the NRC in Assam.
Opposition parties including the Trinamool Congress and the Congress protested the bill in Parliament.
The bill has been opposed by a large section of people and organisations in the Northeast.
The Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI (M) and a few other parties have been opposing the bill claiming that citizenship can’t be given on the basis of religion and that it is unconstitutional.
Some opposition members have even given dissent notes in the report.
Interestingly, BJP’s ally Shiv Sena and JD-U have announced that they would oppose the bill in Parliament.
Eight influential students’ bodies of the Northeast, besides more than 40 socio-cultural organisations of Assam, called an 11-hour ‘bandh’ on Tuesday in protest against the central government’s move to amend the Citizenship Act.
Speaking in Silchar in Assam on Friday, the prime minister reiterated the Centre’s commitment to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
“The Citizenship Bill is an atonement of the wrong that was done during India’s Partition. I hope this bill is passed soon in Parliament. India will safeguard all who had been victims of the Partition,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)