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. 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.
In a hard-hitting reply to the debate on the proposed legislation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said people belonging to any religion should not have any fear under the Modi government as he asserted that the bill will give relief to those minorities who have been living a painful life after facing persecution in neighbouring countries.
Shah also said the Modi government will definitely implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country and when it will be done, not a single illegal immigrant will remain in the country. Shah said there is a difference between illegal immigrants and those who have come after facing religious persecution in the three neighbouring countries.
So which parties supported the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and who opposed it?
Biju Janata Dal (BJD), YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), Janata Dal (United), Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Shiv Sena, Lok Janshakti Party, Agatha Sangma of Meghalaya’s National People’s Party, BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance like NPF, NDPP, MNF etc. supported the Bill.
The Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Assam-based All India United Democratic Front, Nationalist Congress Party, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Bahujan Samaj Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, Communist Party of India (Marxist) opposed the Bill.
The next test:
The next test of the bill will be in Rajya Sabha where the NDA will require the support of at least 123 MPs in the 245-member house. The support of regional and like-minded parties will be crucial to get the bill passed in the upper house, where it is likely to be tabled in the coming days.
(Inputs from Agencies)