10 Big highlights on Citizenship Amendment Bill

Around Midnight on Monday, Lok Sabha went on to clear the Citizenship Amendment Bill after approximately 7 hours of steaming discussions where 311 people voted in support of the bill while 80 went against it. A bill that clears Lok Sabha eventually means that it will be presented at the Rajya Sabha.

While the opposition rejected the bill advancement since it violates the constitution’s core principles of equality, Union Home Minister Amit Shah countered the opposition’s criticism saying it was not even 0.001 % against India’s minorities. He went on to question the Congress' right to describe the bill as discriminatory when it is the very party that "divided India on the grounds of religion" during the 1947 partition. The bill seeks to make it easier for non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to become Indian citizens.

Here are 10 Big highlights on the Citizenship Amendment Bill:-

Ø PM congratulated the Lok Sabha minutes after the legislation was passed.

Ø Amit Shah said in his reply to the debate that the bill cannot be linked to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to identify illegal immigrants. "We will bring NRC and bring it with clarity. There will be NRC. When NRC comes, all infiltrators will be identified," he said.

Ø As opposition members spoke about fear among Muslims, Amit Shah said the government was committed to giving equal rights to all people. "With Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, no citizen irrespective of religion needs to fear," he said.

Ø The Home Minister also said neither Muslims nor those from the Northeast should fear the bill because it only aimed to help minority migrants. "Lakhs and crores of such people have been suffering without homes, education and hygiene," he said.

Ø He rejected allegations that the bill was anti-Muslim, claiming that it has the endorsement of 130 crore citizens. "The Citizenship Amendment Bill does not include Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan only because they were not minorities there. It's as simple as that," he said.

Ø Amit Shah also denied claims that the centre was trying to turn India into a "Hindu Pakistan". "This is wrong. The population of Muslims in India has increased from 9.8 per cent to 14.2 per cent. On the other hand, the number of minorities in Pakistan has gone down from 23 per cent to 3.7 per cent," he said.

Ø The Union Minister explained that many parts of the Northeast have been excluded from the bill's purview in view of their objections. His assurance came amid protests in the region, where people claim that it will harm their identity.

Ø Although the Shiv Sena -- the BJP's ally-turned-rival in Maharashtra -- had earlier sent mixed signals on the bill, the party supported it at the end of the day. Sena MP Sanjay Raut had hinted at such an outcome in a tweet posted earlier.

Ø The Congress was vehement in its opposition to the legislation. "The bill is against the Constitution, against the spirit of Constitution and against the ideology propounded by Babasaheb Ambedkar," party leader Manish Tewari said. His party colleague, Shashi Tharoor, said the BJP's thought process was similar to that of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Ø The original Citizenship Act of 1955 stated that individuals seeking Indian citizenship should have lived in the country for 11 of the last 14 years. The amendment proposes to reduce that period to five years for non-Muslim applicants, and grants them immunity from administrative action under the National Register of Citizens.

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