The hugely controversial and contentious bill seeking to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan was passed in the Lok Sabha . It did not pass without protests in north eastern states and opposition parties who termed the proposed law “divisive” and “flawed”.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, but soon after in his reaction Senior Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge said there are “flaws” in the bill that does not address the Assam Accord and requested the Speaker to send it to a select committee. His party walked out after the Speaker refused to accept the demand.
Other opposition party leaders, including Trinamool Congress’s Saugata Roy dubbed the bill as “divisive” and “insidious” that goes against the basic tenets of the Constitution. “This is the worst form of vote-bank politics”, Roy added.
Defending the bill, which he said was not “Assam-centric”, Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserted that the bill was not against the provisions of the Constitution and would give succour to persecuted minorities in three neighbouring countries as they “have no place to go to, except India.”
Rejecting the contention that the bill sought to discriminate people on the basis of religion, Singh said, “Anyone eligible under the provisions under the law will be accorded citizenship”.
Seeking to assuage the concerns in the Northeast, which saw an 11-hour bandh on Tuesday against the legislation, Singh said the proposed law will not be confined to Assam alone.
“The burden of those persecuted migrants will be shared by the whole country. Assam alone should not have to bear the entire burden. Government of India is committed to give all help to the State Government and people of Assam,” he said.