Commenting on the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 (CAB) in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described it as a “landmark day” for the country’s ethos of “compassion and brotherhood”. Expressing his pleasure that the Upper House had passed the Bill, he thanked all the MPs who voted in its favour. Moreover, he stated that the CAB would alleviate the suffering of the persecuted people. Earlier, the Lok Sabha had cleared the Bill on Monday after a day-long debate.
A landmark day for India and our nation’s ethos of compassion and brotherhood!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 11, 2019
Glad that the #CAB2019 has been passed in the #RajyaSabha. Gratitude to all the MPs who voted in favour of the Bill.
This Bill will alleviate the suffering of many who faced persecution for years.
The Bill seeks to provide citizenship to the minority communities namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This will be applicable to the members of these communities having arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014. Moreover, they will not be considered as illegal migrants. Additionally, the mandatory residence period for naturalised citizenship for these communities would be reduced to 5 years. Several parties in the North East such as the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) have been vehemently opposed to this Bill. To ameliorate their concerns, the Centre has exempted a major part of the North East from the ambit of the CAB.
The Upper House passed the Bill by a majority of 125-105 votes. This comes after more than 40 MPs including P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Derek O'Brien, Sanjay Singh, Sanjay Raut and Vaiko put forth their arguments either in favour or against the CAB. Some members including the Shiv Sena MPs walked out before the commencement of the voting process. The opposition contended that the Bill discriminated on the basis of religion, going against Article 14, which guarantees the right to equality.