NEW DELHI: The citizenship amendment bill clears the Lok Sabha amidst heated debate between the ruling government and the opposition. 311 members voted in support of the bill while 80 members voted against.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Lok Sabha for passing the bill and considered it at par with the country's humanitarian values.
During the debate over the bill, Amit Shah said that the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) should not be linked with National Register of Citizens (NRC) which is needed to identify illegal immigrants.
The criticisms over the bill began with the opposition who called it another version of "ghar wapsi" and a threat to Muslims. Minister Shah said that the Modi government is committed to protecting the interests and rights of the minorities.
When the Congress opposed the bill vociferously in the Lok Sabha, Shah blamed them for the necessity of the bill as the party was responsible for the partition on the basis of religion.
He mentioned the Nehru-Liaqat pact signed in 1950 which gave protection to minorities but similar protection is not there for minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
CAB will give Hindus, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs and Jains and Buddhists from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan Indian citizenship. Shah said that non-Muslims are often victims of forced conversion, blasphemy and other forms of atrocities.
Amit Shah said that Muslims will not be included in the bill because they do not face discrimination in Muslim dominated countries which is why they are not included in CAB.
Shah questioned that if the Bill violates Article 14 then why are the minorities in India given special privileges. Indian minorities population increased whereas Pakistan's population reduced to 3.7 percent, he added.
Reacting to this bill, US commission on international religious freedom recommended sanction against Amit Shah and claimed that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is dangerous.
CAB is one of the promises mentioned the election manifesto of BJP during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Shiv Sena, who initially supported the bill, questioned if it will start an invisible war in the country.
Janata Dal-United (JDU) leader Prashant Kishor expressed disappointment over his party members supporting the bill.
Asaddudin Owaisi called the bill a big insult to the freedom fighters and it will make many Muslims stateless. He tore the CAB document to symbolise Mahatma Gandhi who tore the discriminatory citizenship card in South Africa.