Ahead of the introduction of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “some parties” are speaking the same language as Pakistan on the Bill.
“The very same language used by Pakistan on the Citizenship Bill is being used by some parties,” PM Modi said at the BJP parliamentary party meeting.
The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday after an intense seven-hour debate that went on till midnight. The Bill cleared the lower House with 311 voting for the bill and 80 against.
Likening the Bill to the government’s August 5 decision to scrap Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi said it will provide relief to minorities of neighbouring countries who arrived in India fleeing religious persecution.
“Citizenship Bill will be written in golden letters, it will give permanent relief to people who fled religious persecution,” PM Modi said.
The Congress, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool and other opposition parties have strongly criticized the Bill, which seeks to make non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh eligible to become Indian citizens. They call the bill “discriminatory” and in violation of the principles of equality and secularism in the Constitution.
Protests intensified in northeastern states against the Bill and an 11-hour shutdown was observed. Several organizations which are against the Bill fear the proposed law will change the demographics of the states.