National

Lok Sabha Passes Citizenship Amendment Bill, Amid Protest

ASHISH MEENA | 0
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| January 8 , 2019 , 19:28 IST

Despite opposition by various parties including Congress and Trinamool Congress, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 that seeks to remove hurdles in eligible migrants from six minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan getting Indian citizenship.

Congress and TMC walked out once their demand for sending the Bill again to a parliamentary panel was rejected by the government.

Responding to a discussion over the Bill, Home Minister Rajnath Singh clarified that the Bill was not confined to Assam but would apply to all states and Union Territories.

Speaking to media, Rajnath Singh said, "The burden of these persecuted migrants will be shared by the whole country. Assam alone would not have to bear the entire burden and the government is committed to provide all help to the state government and people of Assam."

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Dispelling the misgivings about the Citizenship Amendment Act, he highlighted the discrimination and religious persecution faced by minority communities in those countries.

"They have no place to go to, except India. The Bill will provide relief to persecuted migrants who have come through western borders of the country to states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and others," he added.

Soon after the Bill was moved, leader of Congress in the House Mallikarjun Kharge said that his party has several reservations on the Bill.

"It has several shortcomings. It is dangerous for the unity and integrity of the country. There is no respect for Assam Accord. It is also a constitutional matter, so resend it to a select committee," the Congress leader said.

"If you do not, we have no other option but to walk out from the House," he said and led the party members to a walkout.

The Bill seeks to enable Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh without valid travel documents or those whose valid documents expired in recent years to acquire Indian citizenship through the process of naturalisation.