Home minister Rajnath Singh. Photo: HT
Home minister Rajnath Singh. Photo: HT

Citizenship bill for all states, not just Assam: Rajnath Singh

Burden of supporting migrants will not be borne by Assam or even the northeast alone, says home minister Rajnath Singh in Rajya Sabha amid flare-ups over the recently passed citizenship bill

New Delhi: Tempers ran high in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with members demanding a response from Union home minister Rajnath Singh on the flare-ups caused by the introduction of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. This comes just a day after northeast India witnessed sporadic violence over the bill. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, but could not be tabled in the Upper House on Wednesday.

Singh told the Rajya Sabha that the burden of supporting migrants will not be borne by Assam or even the northeast alone.

“This is not just for Assam or the northeast, but is valid for all states and Union Territories as well. Neither is this for people of one particular country. This amendment is for migrants who have come through eastern and western borders and are staying in different parts of India. The responsibility will not be Assam’s alone and whatever steps are needed to be taken, the Centre will take," said the home minister.

Singh also informed the House that the purpose of the bill was to provide Indian citizenship to those who had been forced to seek shelter in India because of religious persecution or fear of persecution in their home countries, primarily Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

“There seem to be some misgivings that have been spread with regard to the bill. I want to assure the House that this is not just for Assam. For the benefit of the people of Assam, our government is taking all measures to ensure that the Assam Accord is implemented effectively," he said.

Citizenship will only be given to people after scrutiny and recommendation of district authorities and the state governments, the home minister said.

The bill was introduced in 2016 and was later sent to a joint parliamentary committee, which submitted its report on Monday.

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