NEW DELHI: Indian Home Minister Amit Shah said that the new legislation was a historic document to liberate the crores of refugees who had come from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh from adversities they have faced for decades.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed after division of votes with 311 voting in support and 80 against in Lok Sabha and in Rajya Sabha by 125-105. In his reply to the heated over seven-hour debate, Shah said there was no need to link the bill to National Register of Citizens (NRC). “We will bring NRC and bring it with clarity. When NRC comes, all infiltrators will be identified,” he said.
He said Nehru-Liaquat pact for proper treatment of minorities was not implemented by Pakistan.”The mistake of Nehru-Liaquat agreement is being rectified by Modiji,” he said.
Allaying apprehensions of opposition members, Shah said the bill was not related to Muslim citizens of the country. He said only “minorties” from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have faced religious prosecution have been covered in the bill and Muslims in these Islamic countries were not minorities.
The bill makes Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, eligible for citizenship . It seeks to amend Citizenship Act. Amit Shah said only Constitution was the dharma of the Modi government.
Amit Shah said that Narendra Modi government is going to give legal status to these provisions which will give the minorities an honourable life. It will give protection to persecuted minorities from three neighbouring countries.
“When Partition happened, it was thought the minorities will get civil rights and lead a normal life, that they will be able to practice their own religion and protect their women. But when we look back, we see what the truth really is. These people did not get their rights. They were either killed, converted or came to India,” Shah said while introducing the bill. This bill will give citizenship to all such people, he added.
He once again took on the Opposition for allegations that the bill is biased against Muslims in India. “Misinformation has been spread that this bill is against Muslims of India. I want to ask the people saying this that how is this bill related to Indian Muslims? The Muslims in India are our citizens, they won’t be tortured. What do you want – all the Muslims coming from all over the world should be given Indian citizenship? This is not possible. The minorities are being persecuted in these three countries, that is why we have included only these countries,” Shah said.
Through this bill the Narendra Modi government is going to give legal status to these provisions which will give the minorities an honourable life, the Home Minister said.
“No Muslim in India needs to worry due to this bill. Don’t get scared if someone tries to scare you. This is Narendra Modi’s government working according to Constitution, minorities will get full protection,” Shah said.
Shah said the BJP had clearly indicated its intent to bring such legislation in its election manifesto for the 2019 general election and the people of the country voted for it overwhelmingly. “It is not vote bank politics. We told the people before the elections and won the people’s mandate and approval,” he said
No Muslim community
Amit Shah said the name of the Muslim community is nowhere mentioned in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. “Nowhere in the Bill Muslim community is named even once. You cannot distort and present it in the House,” said Amit Shah after tabling the Bill, while replying to a member from Opposition Bench who alleged that the Bill is discriminatory against the community.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
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, to put an end to them being treated as illegal immigrants in the country.
The Bill was passed by the Lower House of the Parliament earlier this year but lapsed with the term of the previous Lok Sabha during the first term of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government in the Centre. (ANI)