Union Home Minister Amit Shah will move the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The Bill, which is an amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955 and was passed by the Lok Sabha a little after midnight on Tuesday, will come up for consideration and passing.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there.
According to the proposed legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The Bill relaxes the requirement of residence in India from 11 years to six years for these migrants.
While defending the Bill in the Lok Sabha, Shah said the Citizenship Bill does not affect Indian Muslims.
Among the Opposition leaders who will speak during the Citizenship Amendment Bill debate in Rajya Sabha, are Kapil Sibal from Congress, Derek O’Brien from Trinamool Congress and Ramgopal Yadav from Samajwadi Party.
Meanwhile, the Congress has issued a 3-line whip mandating its members in the Rajya Sabha to be present on the day of presentation of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).
After the CAB had an easy passage in the Lok Sabha, the Opposition hopes to block its passage in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alone doesn’t have numbers and will need to rely on support from others.
The current strength of the House is 240 and the Government will need more than half the votes to win this one that means 121.
The opposition parties have termed the Bill as “anti-minority” and “unconstitutional”.
The Bill had cleared the Lok Sabha test during the previous NDA regime as well, but couldn’t clear the Rajya Sabha hurdle due to protests.
Despite exemptions to execute the proposed legislation on citizenship in the Autonomous District Council areas and regions under the Inner Line Permit (ILP), the agitating organisations and political parties in the Northeast on Tuesday remained firm on their demand for withdrawing CAB, claiming the exemptions would not be able to check infiltrations or protect the demographic positions of the indigenous people of the northeast region.
A 12-hour shutdown WAS called by an umbrella body of students’ organisations in the Northeast to protest against the bill.
Indigenous people of the Northeastern states are scared that the entry of these people will endanger their identity and livelihood. Various organisations of the region have launched a series of agitations against the Bill.
According to the provisions of the CAB, the new legislation would not be applied in the 10 Tribal Autonomous District Council (TADC) areas of Assam (3 TADC), Meghalaya (3), Mizoram (3) and Tripura (one).
Also, the new legislation on citizenship would not be executed in three northeastern states — Arunachal, Nagaland and Mizoram — where the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime is applicable.
The ten TADCs are constituted under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution while the ILP notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a stipulated period.
(With agency inputs)