Rajya Sabha approves controversial CAB

Rajya Sabha approves controversial CAB

The Parliament on Wednesday put its stamp of approval on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 that sailed through successfully in the Rajya Sabha after Union Home Minister Amit Shah trashed Opposition charges of playing “divisive politics” and “wrecking with the Constitution.”

While 125 members from the treasury benches and BJP allies voted in favour of the draft law, the opposition camp could muster only 105 votes. A second resolution to send the legislation to a Select Committee for another round of examination was also defeated by a margin of 124-105 votes. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill on Monday.

The contentious bill received the Parliament's accord at a time when violence erupted in the North Eastern states on the apprehension that the legislation might be misused to change the unique demographic profiles of the seven states.

Responding to the opposition charges, Shah said the bill did not violate any of the provisions of the Constitution and would stand the scrutiny of the court.

“Since there is no provision in the bill to take away anyone's citizenship, why should Indian Muslims fear it. Muslims should not be scared and you (the opposition parties) should not scare them,” he said.

He it was required because Pakistan didn't obey the 1950 Liaquat-Nehru pact that recognised religious freedom for the minority community.

Explaining why Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were considered in the bill, Shah said the law was meant to address the specific issue of religious persecution being faced by the religious minority (Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Chirstian) in these three nations in India's neighbourhood.

“When nationality was given to Sri Lankan refugees, the same was not given to Bangladeshi citizens. When people from Uganda fled and came to India, they were given citizenship. Each time a particular crisis was addressed by the government,” Shah said.

 Summing up the opposition offensive, senior Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said while Shah brought the bill claiming victimisation of lakhs, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in 2017 informed the Parliament that it had no authentic record of people who migrated to India from the neighbouring states on the ground of religious persecution.

 In his counter, Shah said it was natural for those who migrated from the three neighbouring countries to hide their true citizenshipp status in the absence of a law that would protect them. “Once the bill becomes a law, they would come out of the shadow and we will get the numbers.”

 The Home Minister also asserted that neither the citizenship bill, nor the previously passed legislation of making the practice of triple talaq punishable and the scrapping Article 370 were anti-Muslim.

 Attacking the Congress for double-speak, Shah said the party during its rule had given Indian citizenship to 13,000 Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan without raising a word about the same for other communities.

 Asked by Congress's Pratap Singh Bajwa on whether Ahmadiya Muslims, who were denounced by Pakistan, could get Indian citizenship, Shah said even though the CAB was for six specific religious minorities, the Narendra Modi government had granted citizenship to 566 Muslims in the last five years.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox