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  India   All India  08 Jan 2019  Lok Sabha passes bill to give citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants

Lok Sabha passes bill to give citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants

THE ASIAN AGE / PTI
Published : Jan 8, 2019, 5:39 pm IST
Updated : Jan 8, 2019, 5:39 pm IST

The contentious bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Introducing the bill in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the bill will pave the way for Indian citizenship to the 'persecuted religious minorities'. (Photo: File | PTI)
 Introducing the bill in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the bill will pave the way for Indian citizenship to the 'persecuted religious minorities'. (Photo: File | PTI)

New Delhi: The contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was passed by Lok Sabha today amid massive uproar by opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left.

Most parties from the Northeast have raised strong objection to the bill.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), a partner in the BJP-led Assam government, snapped ties with the saffron party on Tuesday over the issue while NDA allies like the Shiv Sena and the JD(U) have also opposed this legislation.

Mizoram and Meghalaya governments have opposed the bill by adopting a resolution against it in their respective cabinet meetings.

Earlier, while introducing the bill in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the bill will pave the way for Indian citizenship to the "persecuted religious minorities"-- the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis---from the three countries. "They have no place to go to, except India," he said.

Singh said the migrants - Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis - were earlier given protection against legal action in 2015 and 2016. "Long term visa provision was made for them. The proposed amendment will make these persecuted migrants eligible to apply for citizenship," he said.

Singh said citizenship will be given to them only after due scrutiny and recommendation of district authorities and the state government.

The minimum residency period for citizenship is proposed to be reduced from existing 12 years under the present law to seven years. The legislation also seeks to provide relief to persecuted migrants who have come through western borders of the country to states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and other states, the home minister said.

The bill will apply to all states and union territories of the country and the beneficiaries of Citizenship Amendment Bill will be able to reside in any state of the country.

The bill was originally introduced in 2016 and was later sent to the JPC, which submitted its report on Monday. On the basis of the recommendations of the JPC, a fresh bill was introduced on Tuesday.

Opposition parties have raised objections to the bill. The Congress said many states have opposed the bill and it should be sent to a select committee. As the government did not heed to the demand, the Congress staged a walkout.

TMC's Saugata Roy dubbed the bill as "divisive" and "insidious" that goes against the basic tenents of the constitution. "This is the worst form of vote-bank politics", Roy said.

Tags: citizenship amendment bill 2019, lok sabha, rajnath singh, non-muslim immigrants
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi