After 12-hr Debate, Lok Sabha Passes Citizenship Amendment Bill With 311 'Ayes', 80 'Noes'

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After a day-long debate which saw the participation of 38 MPs across party lines, the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 just after midnight.

Written By Akhil Oka | Mumbai | Updated On:

After a day-long debate which saw the participation of 38 MPs across party lines, the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, just after midnight with 311 votes in favour and 80 against the Bill. It seeks to exempt the minority communities namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan from being considered as illegal migrants. Furthermore, the mandatory residence period for naturalised citizenship for these communities would be reduced to 6 years. After all the MPs spoke, Union Home Minister Amit Shah responded and made some arguments in defence of the CAB. 

Read: CAB Decoded: What's The Furore Over The Citizenship Amendment Bill About?

Here are the key highlights of Shah’s arguments in favour of the CAB: 

Not a violation of Article 14 

“Honourable Manish Tewari and many other MPs stated that this bill is unconstitutional citing Article 14. This bill is not unconstitutional by any dimension and is not a violation of Article 14. There is no restriction in making laws on the grounds of reasonable classification. I want to go into the background. If the partition of this country did not happen on the basis of religion, I would not have had to introduce this Bill. The area in which Muslims lived was carved out to be Pakistan and the rest of the region became India. Later on, East Pakistan transformed into Bangladesh. If a law is enacted for the persecuted minorities, then it is not a violation of Article 14.” 

Read: Here's How Asaduddin Owaisi Justified His Act Of Tearing The CAB Bill In Lok Sabha

Nehru-Liaquat pact 

“In 1950, there was a Nehru-Liaquat pact which decided that both countries will take care of its minorities. But this did not happen. The Nehru-Liaquat pact was an imaginary agreement. It failed and could not stand the test of time.” 

Percentage of minorities  

“It is necessary to tell about this because in these countries the possibility of the minorities in these countries getting justice is negligible. In 1947, after independence, the percentage of minorities in Pakistan was 23% which dropped to 3.7% in 2011. In Bangladesh, in 1947, the percentage of minorities was 22% which dropped to 7.8% in 2011. Where did these people go? I want to ask those who are opposing this bill-what is the fault of these minorities? We want that their existence should remain. In India in 1951, the percentage of Hindus was 84%. In 2011, it reduced to 79%. In 1951, the percentage of Muslims here was 9.8%, today it is 14.23%. We are not discriminating against them on the basis of religion. And I want to assure that even in the future, we will not discriminate on the basis of the religion.” 

Read: CAB: Manipur Gets Inner Line Permit System But Protests Set To Continue

Citizenship and refugee policy 

“Whenever there has been any intervention on the question of citizenship, it has happened to solve a specific problem. When citizenship was granted to people from Uganda, then people from other countries were not given citizenship. We have not accepted any refugee policy. The government believes that there is no need for refugee policy.” 

Definition of minorities is not limited 

“Our definition of minorities is not limited. But it is the reality that Muslims are not a minority in these three countries. A perception is being created that there is discrimination against Muslims in India, this is not true. If they were minorities in that country, we would accept them also. I want to assure that.” 

Attacks opposition 

“Those who give shelter to infiltrators for the sake of vote-bank will feel that this is a trap. No one needs to worry. Whether you have a ration card or not, this Bill gives you strength, you can become a citizen. There is no need for any document. There is a difference between infiltrators and refugees. The person who comes here due to being persecuted on the basis of religion is a refugee and the one who forcibly enters the country is an infiltrator. Congress is such a non-communal party that Muslim League is its partner in Kerala and Shiv Sena is its partner in Maharashtra. I have never seen such a non-communal party in my life!” 

Asserts nationwide NRC 

“Owaisi saheb said that this is an attempt to create a background for NRC. I say that there is no need to create a background for NRC. There will be NRC in this country at any cost. When we will come up with NRC, even one infiltrator will not exist in the country.” 

Difference between Article 370 & Article 371 

“There is a difference between Article 370 and Article 371. Article 371 doesn’t give a separate Constitution. Article 371 doesn’t give anyone a separate flag. Article 371 doesn’t incite anyone to demand a separate nation. I want to assure the entire Northeast that will never touch Article 371.” 

Details about exemptions to the Northeast 

“All the states of the Northeast have supported this Bill. Article 371F protects the interests of Sikkim. The entire Arunachal Pradesh is protected by Inner Line Permit. It need not worry. The entire Mizoram is protected by Inner Line Permit. The entire Nagaland is also protected. Manipur is today not protected but we will notify the Bill until Manipur gets the Inner Line protection. This will not be applicable in the tribal areas of Tripura. Nearly the entire area of Meghalaya is outside the CAB. We have set up a committee of people of Assam under clause 6 of the Assam Accord which will soon submit its report. So even Assam need not worry.” 

Read: Over 900 Scientists And Scholars Issue Statement Demanding The Government Withdraw CAB

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