Monday, February 26, 2024

Citizenship Amendment Bill passes in Rajya Sabha; 125 in favour, 105 against

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah tabled the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 in Rajya Sabha today. The House has allotted six hours for the debate on the contentious bill. The Bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha on Monday where 311 MPs voted in favour of the legislation and 80 against.

The ruling BJP is confident that the legislation will comfortably cross the majority mark. With a total strength of 240 members, the BJP-led NDA will need 121 votes to cross the halfway mark.

The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Amendment Act, 1955, to ease the citizenship process for Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

Large parts of the Northeast are witnessing shutdown as students’ unions, Left-democratic organisations, and civil society continue to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

8:30 pm: Statement by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on the “unconstitutional” Citizenship Amendment Bill.

8:20 pm: The Bill was put to voting in Rajya Sabha. It is passed with 117 in favour and 92 against.

8:10 pm: Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP said Shiv Sena has boycotted the voting

7:50 pm: Rajya Sabha votes on whether to send CAB to the select Parliamentary committee. The proposal is defeated. The Bill will not be sent to select Parliamentary committee of the House.

7:20 pm: “The remarks by opposition party members are similar to statements made by Pakistani leaders,” said Amit Shah while attacking Kapil Sibal.

6:45 pm: Amit Shah in his reply said, “Members of opposition parties did not even bother to appreciate the fact that people from 6 religions have been included. But, the focus is only on why Muslims are not included.” He further said “Can followers of Islam in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan be called minority? No. When the religion of the State is Islam, then, chances of persecution of Muslims is lesser.”

6:30 pm: “Our law of the country has provisions for giving citizenship to persecuted Muslims; 566 Muslims given Indian citizenship,” said Home Minister in Rajya Sabha

6:25 pm: Following the protest against Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, curfew has been imposed in Guwahati since 6:15 pm today.

6:24 pm: “This Bill would not have been required if there was no partition. The situation created after the partition demanded this legislation. If this bill was brought 50 years ago, then the situation had not been so severe today,” said Shah.

6:20 pm: Amit Shah is addressing the House to reply to the concerns raised by 44 MPs in the Rajya Sabha today.

6:00 pm: Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad also opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha and questioned the arbitrary inclusion of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh in the bill. He also questioned the ruling party if they even know that Muslims are also persecuted in the countries they have chosen?”

5:30 pm: KK Ragesh of CPI(M) opposed the bill and said the bill is nothing but an attempt to divert the attention of people from many other serious issues. “The government with the help of this bill intends to divide the country on religious lines to fulfil its fascistic agenda. Our Constitution is Baba Saheb’s constitution. “Manusmriti” or “Bunch of Thoughts” is not our constitution”, he said.

4:50 pm: Subramanian Swamy in his address said that the opposition seems to be confused between the CAB and NRC. “The members of the House are misleading the House by speaking on NRC”, said Swamy.

4:46 pm: Ripun Bora of Indian National Congress opposes the Bill. He said that government doesn’t have any information or data regarding how many people have applied from these three neighbouring countries for citizenship or their religious identity. “I government doesn’t have any data, then on what basis the government is bringing this bill. The government want to fulfil its hidden agenda of polarization”, he added.

4:10 pm: Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party addressed the House and opposed the bill. I am opposing this Bill as it is against the Constitution made by Baba Saheb Ambedkar. It is against the Preamble of the Constitution. It is against the India of the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh.

3: 55 pm Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted a statement against the Citizenship Amendment Bill and said, “The Citizenship Amendment Bill is an attack on the secular and democratic character of India.”

3:50 pm: KG Kenye of Naga People’s Front (NPF) on CAB: I support this Bill. People in the North-East have no religious bias. It’s not about religion, minority or majority communities. The bill is about illegal migrants who’ve come into our region and are posing a threat to our demography.

3:46 pm: “The government is attempting to target a community without naming it. Home Minister said that Indian Muslims need nor fear. I say they never feared you and never will. Those who do not have any idea of India cannot protect India”, said Sibal.

3:45 pm: Kapil Sibal further adds, “CAB wouldn’t have been needed if Congress hadn’t allowed partition on the basis of religion.”

3:40 pm: Kapil Sibal on CAB: “Two nation theory was not ours. If this bill is passed today, then you will be accused of creating two nations on the basis of religion. We believe in one nation. I request the Home Minister to take back that baseless remark against Congress.”

3:15 pm: Manoj Jha of RJD calls the bill unconstitutional and immoral.

3:10 pm: Satish Chandra Mishra of BSP said his party opposes the bill. “Why are you violating Article 14 by excluding Muslims” asked Chandra.

3:05 pm: AIADMK leader D Jayakumar on Citizenship Bill: The Bill is not against Srilankan Tamils and Tamil Nadu. We extend our support to CAB in Parliament

3:00 pm: Sanjay Raut stood up to explain his party’s position on CAB. I heard the leaders of the ruling party saying that if you support the bill, then you’re anti-national”, said Raut. He further added, “We do not need certificates of our loyalty from anyone. This is not Pakistan’s assembly, so stop giving certificates to the members opposing the Bill in the House.”

2:50 pm: K Alphons from BJP rises and defends the Bill. He said, “It is clear how the minority population has considerably fallen down in the neighbouring countries due to religious persecution.” If we call the world a family, shouldn’t we intervene to protect them? added Alphons.

2:47 pm: CAB will go to the court and will be struck down, said Chidambram.

2:45 pm: “How can you arbitrarily select Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, while excluding other neighbouring countries. How can you select these religious minorities while leaving out other sects, sub-sects and religion?” The classification is arbitrary and unreasonable, said Chidambaram in his address.

2:20 pm: CPM’s TR Rangarajan opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and said that the secularism is a part of the Constitution’s basic structure. The bill is unconstitutional as it deliberately intends to leave out Muslims. It is incorrect on the part of the Home Minister to say that Muslims cannot be persecuted in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

2:07 pm: Opposing the Bill, Rao said that the government cannot alienate the minority community within the country and go against the constitutional ethos.

2: 05 pm: K Keshava Rao of Telangana Rashtra Samiti said that he does not believe that India was carved out on the basis of religion. “At that time British India and many other small princely states came together to form a nation,” he said

2:00 pm: Centre starts withdrawing the paramilitary forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, and moves them to Assam.

1:50 pmSR Balasubramaniam of AIADMK said, “Except for our few doubts, we extend our overall support to the bill.”

1:45 pm: Samajwadi Party’s Javed Ali Khan rises to address the House on CAB 2019. He said, “What Jinnah couldn’t achieve, the CAB and NRC intend to do.” He reads out from Golwalkar’s book and called the bill a planned conspiracy.

1:40 pm: Ram Chandra Prasad Singh of Janta Dal United [JD(U)], rises to address the Upper House. “I am amazed at how members have distracted the house from what the bill intends to states. Why are we even discussing here about Indian minorities?  I fail to understand how the bill is against our Preamble?” JD(U) supports the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019,” he said.

1:32 pm: How have you treated the Bengali Hindus, asks Derek. “60% of detention camps in Bengal are full of Bengali Hindus. Now, you want these Hindus to re-apply for their citizenship through CAB”, he said in an attacking tone. He further compared Jews being called rats by Nazis and illegal immigrants being called termites by the Home Minister.

1:28 pm: Derek said that there will be peoples’ movement against the bill. Those who cannot remember the past, are deemed to repeat it. He compares detention camps to concentration camps.

1:25 pm: It seems the framers of the bill are inspired by the Nazis. They are taking India from democracy to dictatorship.

1:24 pm: Derek O’ Brien opposed the bill. He said the government intends to protect the rights of the minorities in neighbouring countries. While two crore people in this country have lost their jobs. What about their rights?

1:20 pm:  JP Nadda stood up in defence of the bill. He in his address said, “The founding fathers of this country wanted the minorities in both the countries to get protection. But the reality was very different. In Jawahar-Liyaqat Ali Pact it was decided that the minorities would be divided. In 1950, when the Constitution was adopted, we made it secular, but Pakistan chose to become a theocratic nation.”

He also said that documented evidence shows that minorities have grown in India, but the population of Pakistan’s minorities have gone down significantly.

12:55 pm: Union Home Minister has discussed and listened to the voice of the people of the northeast, Union Minister. “The concerns of the indigenous people of the North-East region are being addressed thoroughly by our government”, Kiren Rijiju said.

12:50 pm: “If the Bill is in the interest of the common people, then why there is grave insecurity in the minds of the youth of the North-East today?” says Sharma.

12:48 pm: India has ratified the Human Rights Convention’s accord. No manifesto or party programs should go against the Constitution.

12:46 pm:  “The bill brought by the Centre is an assault on the very foundation of the Indian constitution, it is an assault on the Republic of India. It hurts the soul of India. It fails the morality test”, said Sharma. The bill goes against the Preamble of the Constitution. Sharma further adds, “The bill is an insult to our founding fathers who drafted our constitution, you (Amit Shah) are insulting their wisdom. We have given shelter to people who came over from Pakistan post Partition. Two among them have been our prime ministers — Dr Manmohan Singh and IK Gujral.”

12:45 pm: Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma opposes the Bill and questioned the Centre’s intention of rushing in formulating the amended bill. “I and my party firmly oppose this bill which goes against the secular ethos of the country”, said Sharma.

12:40 pm: The refugees who have entered India before 31 December 2014 will be granted citizenship retrospectively from the day they arrived here. Any cases pertaining to migration will be withdrawn. The Bill will not be applicable in Inner Line Permit areas of northeastern states, said Union Home Minister while explaining the concerns over CAB.

12:30 pm: In 1985, the Assam accord happened. We have introduced a provision in clause 6 to protect the indigenous culture of the state, said Amit Shah.

12:25 pm: Misinformation has been spread that this bill is against Muslims of India. I reiterate that this bill has nothing to do with Indian Muslims.  They are Indian citizens and will always remain. Modi government will ensure that they don’t have to face any kind of discrimination.

12:10 pm: The minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh are being persecuted. There has been an almost 20% decline in population of religious minorities in both countries. Either they were killed or fled to India for shelter.

12:05 pm: Rejecting the requests of Trinamool Congress to send the bill back to Lok Sabha for reconsideration and calling the bill “defective” because it “divides the nation on the basis of religion”, Venkaiah Naidu said, “The Bill is in order, there is no reason to demand “reconsideration of bill as the Lok Sabha has passed this bill, and it is very much in order.”

12:02 pmThe Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 tabled in the Rajya Sabha by Home Minister Amit Shah.

11:45 am Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, “We need our doubts on the bill to be cleared. If we don’t get satisfactory answers, then our stand could be different from what we took in Lok Sabha.” Raut further said that the government is attempting to create a Hindu-Muslim divide for their narrow vote-bank politics.

11:25 am: Prime Minister while addressing the BJP Parliamentary meeting in the Parliament library today said, “The Bill will come as a relief to people who are fleeing religious persecution. Modi also said some opposition parties are speaking the same language as Pakistan.”

11:05 am: The Rajya Sabha erupted in protest and ruckus prevailed as soon as the Rajya Sabha session was convened. Despite several warnings from the Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, the opposition members continued to protest and speak against the Bill. The Chairman eventually stalled the proceedings and suspended the live telecast.

10:55 am: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said, “Prime Minister while referring to the Citizenship Bill said it will be written in golden letters for people who are persecuted on the basis of religion”

10:49 am: Condemning the CAB, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “The CAB is an attempt by Modi-Shah Govt to ethnically cleanse the North East. It is a criminal attack on the North East, their way of life and the idea of India.”

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