Lok Sabha passes Citizenship Bill amid shutdown in Assam, parts of Northeast

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 that seeks to grant citizenship to migrants from six minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The bill was passed despite opposition by various political parties and civil society. A total shutdown was observed in Assam and several areas of the Northeast in protest against the bill.

As the Congress and the TMC’s demand for sending the bill again to a parliamentary panel was rejected by the government, they staged a walkout.

Responding to a discussion over the bill, home minister Rajnath Singh clarified that the bill was not confined to Assam but would apply to all states and Union territories.

“The burden of these persecuted migrants will be shared by the whole country. Assam alone would not have to bear the entire burden and the government is committed to provide all help to the state government and people of Assam,” he said.

Dispelling the misgivings about Citizenship Amendment Act, he highlighted the discrimination and religious persecution faced by minority communities in those countries.

“They have no place to go to, except India. The bill will provide relief to persecuted migrants who have come through western borders of the country to states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and others,” he added.

Soon after the Bill was moved, leader of Congress in the House Mallikarjun Kharge said that his party has several reservations on the bill.

“It has several shortcomings. It is dangerous for the unity and integrity of the country. There is no respect for Assam Accord. It is also a constitutional matter, so resend it to a select committee.

“If you do not, we have no other option but to walk out from the House,” he said and led the party members to a walkout.

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