New Delhi: Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday tabled the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 in the Rajya Sabha, two days after the Lok Sabha passed the controversial bill.
The Bill now awaits passage in the Upper House where the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is in minority.
On Monday, the Lok Sabha passed the controversial Bill with Shah reiterating that the Bill does not discriminate against Muslims even as the Lower House saw a fierce debate on the controversial piece of legislation described by the Opposition as unconstitutional and discriminatory.
The Bill aims to provide 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. This is a drastic shift from the provisions of the Citizenship Act of 1955 that labels a person an “illegal immigrant" if he or she has entered India without travel documents or has overstayed the date specified in the documents.
The bill thus amends the 1955 Act to grant exemptions to illegal migrants from these communities, who reached India on or before December 2014.
Protests have erupted all across the northeast states, especially in Assam, after student bodies called a bandh demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to provide refuge to non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.