Lok Sabha clears Citizenship Amendment Bill amid protests

Congress MPs hold placards during a protest demanding to stop citizenship amendment bill 2016, during the Winter Session of Parliament, on January 7, 2019

Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill that seeks to provide citizenship to non-muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The  Bill will amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant Indian nationality to people belonging to non-muslim minority communities  — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12, even if they don’t possess any proper document.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha about the amendment in the Bill Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, the amendment in the Citizenship Bill will pave a way for the religious minorities including —  Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis — from these (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan)  to get Indian citizenship.

The introduction of the Bill in the Lower House saw massive outrage with Congress staging a walkout from the House. Congress asserted that the Bill has been opposed by many states and it should be sent to select committee.

The legislation had witnessed many protests across Assam. BJP ally AGP, Asom Gana Parishad in the Assam government had on Monday walked out of the BJP led coalition government amid indifferences over Citizenship Bill.

AGP Chief Atul Bora said on Monday after meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, “We tried our best to oppose the bill. We had support from Nitish Kumar and Shiv Sena and today when Assam is burning in protest against the bill, BJP has completely ignored the sentiments of the people of Assam. So there is no question of continuing in the alliance with BJP.”

Many Student Association, NGOs have staged protest across the state against the proposed bill.

During addressing a rally in Silchar, Assam last week Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated the Centre’s commitment to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill. He said,  ‘Our government is also working to get the Citizen Amendment Bill passed in the Parliament‘.

To make the passage for Key bills including – Citizenship Amendment Bill, Reservation Quota Bill and to give last push to Triple Talaq bill, the Central Government had on Monday decided to extend the winter session by a day for Rajya Sabha. However, Opposition leaders protested in the Parliament premises against the central government for extending Rajya Sabha session by a day; alleging that it was extended without consensus.


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