Rohingyas will be barred, says Amit Shah; Citizenship (Amendment) Bill drives past Lok Sabha comfortably
Shah referred to the decline of minority population in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and stressed that in Pakistan in 1947, the minority population was 23 per cent which came down to 3.7 per cent in 2011.
NEW DELHI: After a marathon debate that went past midnight, the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill by an overwhelming majority — 311 ayes and 80 nays. In his reply to the over sixhour- long debate, Union home minister Amit Shah vowed to implement the National Register for Citizens and asserted that Rohingya Muslims would never get citizenship in India. “Nagaland and Mizoram are protected by Inner Line Permit (ILP) and will continue to remain so.
Keeping in mind the feelings of Manipur, we’re including them in the ILP as well,” Shah said. Claiming he had the popular mandate to fulfill the BJP manifesto, which had promised the CAB, Shah said no one ought be worried though attempts were being made to fan insecurity in certain parts of the country. Shah was categorical that Rohingya Muslims would never be granted citizenship, while reiterating that the government will not tinker with Article 371, which deals with provisions for the Northeast.
He also clarified that the bill seeks to grant citizenship to a special class of religiously persecuted people from three countries, while extensively illustrating instances of the population of minorties in Muslim majority nations sharply declining, including destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhist shrine by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Participating in the debate, Congress leader Manish Tewari argued that it was V D Savarkar who was responsible for the two-nation theory. He called the Bill a monumental blunder.
The Opposition alleged that the Bill smacked of religious discrimination, with the Congress, Trinamool, DMK, TRS, Left, NCP, SP and BSP opposing making religion a ground for granting citizenship. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Choudhary said the proposal was meant to target the minority, which was rebutted by Amit Shah. AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi claimed the Bill will lead to another partition of the country and tore up a copy of the bill, which invited displeasure of the Chair.
Shiv Sena’s Vinayak Rout called for barring people gaining citizenship from voting in elections for 25 years. The debate saw a slugfest between the BJP MPs from West Bengal and members of the Trinamool Congress, who clashed over allegations of political violence in their state. Members from all the N-E states took part in the debate and lauded the government for extensive consultations before finalising it.
No reason to be afraid of the CAB, says Shah
Facing repeated disruption, Shah while introducing the Bill, made forceful submissions that the legislative proposal did not violate Article 14 15 of the Constitution. He stressed the classification to grant citizenship to the six minority communities — Hindu, Jain, Sikh,Buddhist, Parsi and Christians — from the Islamic neighbouring nations of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan was reasonable. Shah claimed that India shared 106 km of border with Afghanistan, and cited precedents to extend citizenship to immigrants from Uganda and Sri Lanka to argue for the Bill.
“We are protecting the linguistic and social uniqueness of the Northeast region under the Bill. A lot of people are trying to instill fear knowingly or unknowingly. I want to inform everyone that there’s no reason to be afraid of the Bill,” said Shah. Hitting out at the Congress at the introductory stage itself, he said the Opposition party was responsible for the division of the country on the religious lines.
- JD (U)
- Shiv Sena
- Smaller parties from Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur