Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday described the passage of the Citizenship Bill in Rajya Sabha as a “landmark day for India”.
Amid raging protests, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed after a fierce debate in the Rajya Sabha with 125 votes in support while 99 against it. The majority mark in the House was 116.
Reiterating his earlier statement, Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured that the “Bill is not anti-Muslim and Indian Muslims need not worry about anything”.
The Bill was introduced and passed on Lok Sabha, a little past midnight on Tuesday with a 311-80 margin.
Speaking on the development, PM Modi tweeted: “A landmark day for India and our nation’s ethos of compassion and brotherhood!”
The Prime Minister also expressed his happiness over the passage of the Bill and thanked all the MPs who voted in favour of the contentious Bill.
PM Modi said the Bill will alleviate the suffering of many who faced persecution for years.
A landmark day for India and our nation’s ethos of compassion and brotherhood!
This Bill will alleviate the suffering of many who faced persecution for years.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 11, 2019
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.
Earlier on Wednesday, PM Modi had hailed the Citizenship Bill as “historic” and said that it will be “written in golden letters for people who are persecuted on basis of religion”.
Meanwhile, Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi has termed it as a “dark day in the constitutional history of India”.
She said the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, marks the victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India’s pluralism.