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Amid protests, Amit Shah tables 'contentious' Citizenship Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha

The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier this year but lapsed with the term of the previous Lok Sabha in the first term of the Narendra Modi government in the Centre. 

Published: 09th December 2019 12:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th December 2019 12:25 PM   |  A+A-

Amit Shah, Lok Sabha

Union Minister Home Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament in New Delhi. (Photo | PTI)

By Online Desk

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday introduced the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Lok Sabha.

The BJP has issued a whip to all its MPs to be present in Parliament from Monday to Wednesday.

"All BJP members in Lok Sabha are hereby informed that some very important Legislative Business will be taken up for discussion and passing in the Lok Sabha from Monday, the 9th December 2019 to Wednesday, the 11th December 2019. All members of the BJP in Lok Sabha are therefore, requested to be positively present in the House and support the government," the letter reads.

Through this bill, Indian citizenship will be provided to the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from the three countries to India till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution and put an end to them being treated as illegal immigrants in the country.

The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier this year but lapsed with the term of the previous Lok Sabha in the first term of the Narendra Modi government in the Centre. 

The bill has evoked mixed reactions from the various sections of the society and the political parties.

While BJP, which made it a part of its election promise both in 2014 and 2019, had issued a three-line whip to its Lok Sabha MPs asking them to be present in the House when the bill is introduced on Monday till December 12, reveals its intent to clear the bill, the Congress and other regional parties from the North-East have been vocal in opposing it from the very start.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday submitted a notice in the Lok Sabha to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill at the introduction stage on the grounds that it "violates" the fundamental right to equality.

On Sunday, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, had said that the party will oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill "tooth and nail" in Parliament, alleging that it is in "violation" of the Indian Constitution.

"We will oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill tooth and nail because it is in violation of our Constitution, secular ethos, tradition, culture and civilisation," he told reporters after the Congress parliamentary strategy group meeting held at interim party president Sonia Gandhi's 10 Janpath residence here.

Several Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Gaurav Gogoi and AK Antony had taken part in the meeting held at Gandhi's residence.

The issue of CAB also divided the one-time allies, with parties like the BSP, first terming the bill "divisive and unconstitutional'' and then went on to add that it would support it "if the central government takes the right decision for the benefit of the country and its people."

A move that may embarrass the NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra, the Sena have decided to back the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which the Congress brands as "unconstitutional".

On Monday, Shiv Sena's face in the Parliament Sanjay Raut took to Twitter to announce the same.

He said: "Illegal Intruders should be thrown out." But to balance its support for a Bill that the entire opposition has come together to object to, Raut added: "Immigrant Hindus must be given citizenship, but Amit Shah, let's give rest to allegations of creating vote bank & not give them voting rights, what say? And yes what about pandits? have they gone back to Kashmir after Article 370 was removed?"

Apart from this, several students and indigenous people's rights organisations such as the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), through marches and calling for strikes, have also carried out protests against the CAB.

(With agency inputs)

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