Lok Sabha passes Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019

The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there.

After over seven-hour-long debate, the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it.

“In 1991, Hindu population was 84% & in 2011, it was 79%. In 1991, Muslim population was 9.8% and today it is 14.23%. We have done no discrimination on basis of religion and in future as well, there will be no discrimination based on religion”, Home Minister Amit Shah said in the debate in Lok Sabha.

“There is a difference between a refugee and an infiltrator. Those who come here due to persecution, to save their religion and the honour of the women of their family, they are refugees and those who come here illegally are infiltrators”, Shah said.

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“Whole of Arunachal Pradesh & Mizoram are protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP), they have nothing to worry about. All of Nagaland, except a small part of Dimapur is also protected by Inner Line Permit, they too have nothing to worry”, said Shah.

Several amendments brought by opposition members, including one by Shiv Sena MP, were defeated either by voice vote or by a division.

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 and facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants and will be given Indian citizenship.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed delight over the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha, saying the proposed law is in line with India’s centuries old ethos of assimilation and belief in humanitarian values.

He took the opportunity to appreciate Amit Shah for ‘lucidly explaining all aspects of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019’ and giving ‘elaborate answers to the various points raised by respective MPs during the discussion in the Lok Sabha’.

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