Union Home Minister Amit Shah countered the Congress party’s claim that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is communal in nature with the retort that the Congress is such a secular party that it has Muslim League as a coalition partner in Kerala and the Shiv Sena as an ally in Maharashtra, ANI quoted Shah as saying in Parliament.
Shah was speaking in the Lok Sabha on Monday during the debate on the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 votes in favour and 80 against it, at a few minutes past midnight. The debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill went on for almost eight hours.
‘The Congress is such a secular party. It partners with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and ties up with the Muslim League in Kerala,’ Shah said.
After the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet, ‘Delighted that Lok Sabha has passed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 after a rich & 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.’
The prime minister also praised the Home Minister for patiently explaining the various facets of the bill.
According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, members of the 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 will be made Indian citizens.
The bill will now be tabled in the Rajya Sabha for approval during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament.
The bill has drawn sharp criticism from a number of opposition parties and their leaders with Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Saugata Roy, N K Premchandran, Gaurav Gogoi, Shashi Tharoor and Asaduddin Owaisi all vehemently opposing the introduction of the bill, saying it violated several provisions of the Constitution, including a move to grant citizenship on the basis of religion.
The bill also led to protests in Assam, Manipur and Tripura. In Assam, a 12-hour general strike was called by several indigenous organizations affecting normal life in parts of the state. Guwahati, however, remained largely peaceful.
States in the northeast like Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, which have inner line permit (ILP) regime and Sixth Schedule areas in Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya have been kept outside the ambit of CAB.
The entire northeastern region will witness a shutdown on Tuesday due to an 11-hour general strike called by the North East Students Organisation (NESO), which comprises of student bodies of seven states in the region.
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