Amid protests in Northeast, Citizenship bill passed in Rajya Sabha

Srinagar: The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has been passed in the Rajya Sabha amid fierce debates in Parliament and violent protests in the Northeast.
The Bill will need the President’s nod to become a law.
The Bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha by Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday after it was passed in Lok Sabha on Monday night with a majority of 311 votes against 80.
The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to allow non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to become Indian citizens if they leave their country facing religious persecution.
The opposition voted against the Bill in the parliament, saying it is discriminatory on the basis of religion and aimed against minorities. However, Shah has been asserting that the Bill is not anti-Muslims.
The Bill has sparked protests across India and especially in the North East where people are worried about foreigners settling in their lands and changing the indigenous demography and culture. The Centre has moved additional 5,000 troops to northeast and deployed army in Tripura in wake of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Thousands of academics, intellectuals and activists have openly opposed the bill.
He said that the Bill has been brought to rectify a historic blunder — the partition — and give a dignified life to non-Muslims of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who fled religious persecution and settled in India before December 31, 2014.
Shah said that the need to bring the Bill goes back to the partition and Pakistan’s failure to protect its minorities.
“Despite Kabil Sibal and Anand Sharma’s insistence, I would once again say that the partition happened on the basis of religion. It was a blunder, which forced me to introduce this Bill,” he said.
Shah said, “There would have been no need to introduce this Bill. This Bill is to address the problem created by the partition.” He further said that Muslims from other countries have right to apply for Indian citizenship and that it will be applicable in all states including West Bengal. ”No one will have to go to detention camp after passage of citizenship bill,” he said.
Shah also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi led BJP government is not there to only run the country but also set things right. Shah also assured that govt is committed to preserving language, culture of Assam.
Replying to Congress MPs P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal’s concerns, Shah said the Article 14 of the Constitution allows the Parliament to frame laws based on ‘reasonable classification’ which, he said, was in the Bill.
The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday with a majority of 311 votes against 80 votes where 391 members were present and voting.
He further said that India can never be ‘Muslim-mukt’ (free from Muslims) while replying to a debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Replying to a statement of Congress MP Kapil Sibal, Shah said that Muslims should not fear the Bill as it does not strip them of their citizenship.
The Home Minister said that the proposed legislation is not against the interest of Muslims. “How can the CAB be anti-Muslim? In this Bill, there is no proposal to touch the citizenship of any Muslim,” he said.
”Also, if any government would have solved the problem, there would have been no need for this Bill,” he added.
In the 245-member Rajya Sabha, the halfway mark was 121 as five seats were vacant bringing down the strength of the House to 240.

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