Strongly backing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill Union Home Minister Amit Shah has asserted that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has the ‘endorsement of 130 crore Indian citizens’ and rejected suggestions that the measure is anti-Muslim, saying it will give rights to persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Trying to allay apprehensions of people of the Northeast, Shah said the Narendra Modi Government is committed to protect the customs and culture of people of the region and informed that Manipur will be brought under Inner Line Permit regime, where the proposed law will not be applicable.
The bill, which has been opposed by the Congress, Trinamool Congress and other opposition parties, was introduced after a division of votes for which 293 MPs voted in favour and 82 against it.
“Citizenship amendment bill has the endorsement of 130 crore citizens of the country as it was the part of the Bharatiya Janata Party manifesto in 2014 as well as 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” Shah said, initiating the debate on the contentious bill.
“We will have to differentiate between intruders and refugees. Citizenship amendment bill does not discriminate against anyone and does not snatch anyone’s rights,” he said.
The home minister said under the proposed legislation, citizenship will be granted to refugees coming from the three countries after facing religious persecution there even without documents, including ration cards.
Noting that India has given similar rights to people in the past, Shah said Manmohan Singh and L K Advani could become prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively due to this after they came from present day Pakistan.
“This bill is not even .001 per cent against Muslims. It is against infiltrators,” he said earlier while introducing the bill.
According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31 2014, facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.