Parliament LATEST Updates: The contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by the Upper House on Wednesday with 117 votes in favour and 92 against.
Parliament LATEST Updates: The contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by the Upper House on Wednesday with 125 votes in favour and 105 against.
Several amendments moved by Opposition MPs from the TMC, Congress, CPM, among other parties were rejected by the Rajya Sabha in the debate over the Citizenship Bill on Wednesday. Some MPs are asking Minister to accept those amendments as in good intent, but all are put to vote and defeated.
Former NDA ally Shiv Sena has reportedly walked out of the Rajya Sabha ahead of the votes on the amendments moved by Opposition members and the passage of the bill. On Tuesday, party chief Uddhav Thackeray said that the party wouldn't support the bill if their queries raised in the Lok Sabha were unanswered.
After the Upper House voted on whether to send the Citizenship Amendment Bill to a Select Committee, 113 MPs voted against the motion.
The members of the Rajya Sabha are currently voting on whether to send the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha at midnight on 10 December, should be sent to a Select Committee of the Upper House. The House will decide via the method of division of votes.
There was disruption in the Upper House during Home Minister Amit Shah's speech on the Citizenship Amendment Bill. In addition to the TMC party, the Congress protested Shah's statement in which he drew parallels between the speeches made by Congress MPs and Pakistani politicians like Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan.
"I don't know how this happens, but whatever the Congress MPs say, is echoed by Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and vice versa," he said.
TMC MPs Derek O Brien and Sukhendu Shekhar Roy raised objections in the Upper House against Home Minister Amit Shah's statement in which he named West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's comment in 2005 objecting to infiltrators in Bengal.
The TMC MPs stated that the home minister is misleading. The MPs also engaged in an argument over raising a point of order with Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu.
"If you don't maintain order, I will be forced to ask the minister to conclude his statement and put the bill to vote," Naidu said.
Roy said, "No point can be made against someone holding a constitutional office, unless motion brought. A statement has been made against Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee."
In his response to the debate over CAB in the Rajya Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah indicated that the law to grant citizenship to persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh could be extended to other minorities.
"There is no appreciation of those included, but problem with Muslims being excluded. Though low possibilities of Muslims being oppressed in these three countries, but if that is the case, they can claim citizenship as per law.
"Over 560 Muslims from these countries already given," he said.
He also addressed Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad's argument that the Centre doesn't have "authentic records" on the number of persecuted minorities in the three countries, Shah said, "There is no data because they (refugees) are living as illegal occupants, because of you (Congress). But now they wont be, they will come ahead and become citizens and then we will show numbers in Parliament on how many benefitted."
Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill would have never been needed if the Partition had been prevented during Independence in 1947. "Congress chose to divide the nation on the basis of religion," he said.
"Some members have said that the bill is unconstitutional and questioned its need. Some of them also said that there is a hidden agenda for political polarisation. I will answer all the questions one by one. But first, I would like to give a brief historical background to it."
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad also opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and questioned only the inclusion of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh in the bill. He also referred to the oppression faced by Muslim women in Afghanistan by the Taliban and said, "Who says that Muslims are not persecution in the countries you have chosen?"
"Why have Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar been excluded?"
PDP MP in the Rajya Sabha, Mir Mohd Fayaz, in his speech opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, said that the proposed legislation sought to target the Muslim community. "Whether it is Triple Talaq or Article 370 or this bill, since this governemnt has been in power, the Muslim community is being targeted. Muslims won't come from Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Bangladesh, but what about Indian Muslims?
"We came to secular India in the hope of equality, rather goign to Muslim-majority Pakistan. I think my ancestors were wrong. In this country, now Muslims are being targeted and discriminated against."
Abdul Wahab, IUML MP also said, "The bill discriminates against Muslims and other persecuted minorities in India. If the bill gets passed with tyranny of majority, it will be final nail in coffin of Indian democracy. Urges government to withdraw it."
BJD and YSRCP MPs indicated their support for the CAB as the contentious bill was being debated in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. However, both parties appealed for changes to the current draft of the proposed law.
YSRCP MP V Vijaysai Reddy said, "Our party supports the Citizenship Amendment Bill. We believe in giving citizenship to those people who face persecution in their country and live in inhumane conditions. However, the government should consider giving citizenship to those minorities among the Muslim community such as Boras and Ahmedis and face persecution in their country.
BJD leader Prasanna Acharya was quoted by ANI as saying, "Our stand is the same as was in Lok Sabha. We are supporting the bill but we want certain amendments in the bill like including Sri Lanka in it."
Kamal Haasan, chief of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), weighed in on the discourse regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill even as the contentious bill was being debated in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
He said, "We have a duty to amend the Constitution if there was any error, but to attempt to amend a flawless Constitution is a betrayal. Centre's law and plan is akin to a crime of attempting surgery on a healthy person. Those who attempted and failed are trying again."
Congress leader Kapil Sibal slammed Home Minister Amit Shah's statements in the Lok Sabha when the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was being debated before it was passed with two-thirds majority.
Responding to Shah's comments that the Citizenship Bill wouldn't have been needed "if it weren't for the Congress", Sibal said, "I don't understand which history books the home minister has read. Two-nation theory is not our theory. It was perpetrated by Savarkar."
"This bill gives legal colour to the two-nation theory," Sibal said, adding, "Don't convert the secular republic of India into a Jurassic republic."
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who was at the forefront of the party's "belligerent" stand against the BJP after the Maharashtra Assembly polls, said that a citizen's nationalism cannot be decided based on whether they support the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or not.
Taking a jibe at the BJP, he said, "We don't need any certificate on our nationalism or Hindutva. Jis school mein aap padhte ho, hum us school ke head master hain (We [Shiv Sena] are the headmaster of the school you attend).
"Hamare school ke headmaster Balasaheb Thackeray the, Atal ji, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee bhi the, hum sabko mante hain (Our headmasters also include Balasaheb Thackeray, Atal [Bihari Vajpayee], Shyama Prasad Mukerjee; we follow all). I have been hearing since yesterday that those who do not support this Bill are anti-national and those who support it are nationalist."
Pointing out that India already has a Citizenship Act through which one can become a citizen, Congress' P Chidambaram, addressing the Rajya Sabha, said that the government bringing in this Bill makes this "process through arbitrary executive feat". He said that by moving this Bill for consideration and passage, the Parliament is being asked to do something unconstitutional. "This government is ramming through this Bill to advance its Hindutva agenda. This is a sad day. I am absolutely clear that this law will be struck off." "This will not stop here. It will eventually go to judges. So unelected lawyers and judges will decide and it will be a slap on our faces," Chidambaram said.
The former finance minister demanded that if the Attorney General was consulted before bringing in the Bill, he should be brought to the House to answer questions including why only three countries were included in the Bill's ambit and why no communities other than those named in the legislation have been considered. "Why has the Bill excluded Sri Lankan Hindus and Bhutanese Christians. Why just religious persecution, why not persecution on grounds of politics, linguistic?" he asked.
Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (JDU), rises to address the Rajya Sabha. "I am amazed at what the Bill states and what we are discussing. Why are we talking about Indian minorities? And our MPs are saying it's against the Preamble of Constitution. How is this against our Preamble? JD(U) supports Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019," he says.
TMC's Derek O'Brien addresses Rajya Sabha and compares Jews being called rats by Nazis and illegal immigrants being called termites by the Home Minister. "This is not about politics, but about authority and truth. In eight years, 2 crore people have lost their jobs. When you can't take care of people inside the country, how can you do this?" "1 crore people came from East Pakistan. It was linguistic persecution in the 1970s. These are all poor people who lost their documents in floods, violence. This will be written on the father of the nation's grave, and not in golden letters like the PM claimed. In Karachi, he says referring to Jinnah's grave."
BJP working president JP Nadda addressing the Rajya Sabha says he will lay out facts supporting the persecution of minorities in neighbouring countries. He asks the Opposition to let go of politics and think of the nation. He says the Bill does not violate Article 14 of the Constitution. He quotes Manmohan Singh speaking in the Rajya Sabha about the treatment of refugees after Partition. "Singh says that persecuted minorities should be granted citizenship," says Nadda. Amit Shah quips that the government is making true Singh’s words. Nadda says this Bill is in the interest of the nation.
Anand Sharma slams Centre for their urgency in getting the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 passed. "Why the urgency with the Bill. We oppose this... The reason for opposition is not political but ideological. CAB is an assault on the foundation of the constitution. The bill is against the Preamble of the Constitution. This move in 2019 is an insult to our Constituion's founding fathers...you 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," Anand Sharma said. "The citizenship act has seen amendments since 1955 but the fundamentals of this act has never been tampered with. You say we should rise above politics, but I request you to not politicise this matter," Sharma added. The Congress leader further added that the two-nation theory was never brought in by Jinnah, "it was introduced by Hindu Mahasabha in Gujarat in 1937."
Congress leader Anand Sharma raises to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha and says that the foundation of this Bill is based on geographical boundaries. "It seeks to divide." What was Centre's rush in formulating this amended Bill, asks Sharma. The Congress leader demands to know that does the BJP think the founding fathers of this nation did not think of these things (excluding religious minorities from the amended bill)? "I, and my party, categorically oppose this Bill," says Sharma as it seeks to divide and is very against the fibre of India.
Addressing the Rajya Sabha over Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Amit Shah said, "This is a government which believes in sabka saath, sabka vikaas." Shah says that Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was part of the BJP's manifesto and the victory means people have accepted the CAB. He says the manifesto says we will address the concerns of the northeast. He explains the salient features of the Bill. He claims the media is saying the Bill is anti-minorities and anti-Muslims. "Do you want Muslims in Pakistan to be granted Indian citizenship," he asks. Treasury Bench applauds him.
Shah said that the fears that many sections are spreading claiming that the CAB is against the minorities is a blatant lie and comes from a place of ignorance. "Under Narendra Modi, no Indian Muslim needs to be afraid," Shah said, while adding that the Centre has chosen three countries because it's not possible to give asylum to Muslims from all over the world. "How is it possible," said Shah.
The Rajya Sabha has started discussing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Home Minister Amit Shah addresses Upper House. "This Bill is in order, there is no reason to demand reconsider debate on this Bill. The Lok Sabha has passed this Bill, and I have seen the legislation and it's in order," say Venkaiah Naidu even as Trinamool Congress called the bill "defective" because it "divides the nation on basis of religion".
Addressing the BJP Parliamentary meeting in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Bill will give permanent relief to people who fled religious persecution. Modi also said that the Opposition is speaking the language of Pakistan on the Bill, PTI reported, quoting sources. Modi said that the legislation "will be written in golden letters."
Minutes within convening, ruckus erupts in Rajya Sabha. Opposition members protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Despite several warnings from Venkaiah Naidu, the member continued to speak and in minutes live streaming of Rajya Sabha proceedings was stalled. Naidu told the members not to disrupt Zero Hour proceedings.
After the BJP parliamentary meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said that the Citizenship Amendment Bill will be tabled in Rajya Sabha at 12 pm today. He also hoped that the Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, will be passed in the Upper House with a comfortable majority. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said, "(PM) Modi said that Citizenship Amendment Bill will be written in golden letters for people who are persecuted on basis of religion."
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday termed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill an “attempt to ethnically cleanse the North East” hours before the Rajya Sabha debates the contentious legislation. Taking to Twitter, Rahul said: "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. I stand in solidarity with the people of the North East and am at their service."
Home Minister Amit Shah will introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Bill looks at granting citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants who came to India on or before 31 Dcember, 2014 from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh after facing persecution in their countries.
The Lok Sabha passed the contentious bill on Monday with 311 votes in its favour, provoking widespread protests in the North East. Opposition parties, academics, authors and the intelligentsia demanded an immediate withdrawal of the Bill.
The Bill may face stronger opposition in Rajya Sabha than it did in the Lok Sabha, with the BJP not being in majority in the Upper House. Even as the saffron party expresses confidence in the passage of the bill, Shiv Sena has refused to support the bill while the JD(U) is divided in its backing of the legislation.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Tuesday that Shiv Sena would not back the Bill in the Rajya Sabha if its queries are not addressed by the government, while senior JD(U) leader Pavan K Varma echoed reservations expressed by his colleague Prashant Kishor over the Bill, and asked party president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to “reconsider” its position.
Opposition members said they would “make them bleed” with the Trinamool Congress alone planning to move 20 amendments.
With the BJP’s 83 MPs and those of its allies, such as JD(U) and SAD (3) and others — regional parties such as AIADMK (11), BJD (7) and YSR Congress (2) are favourably inclined — the government is eyeing at least 128 votes in its support, without the Sena. This calculation leaves the Opposition, including Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, SP, Left parties and others — the TRS voted against the Bill in Lok Sabha — with 112 votes.
The BJP parliamentary party will also hold a meet ahead of the session's commencement.
The bill excludes areas in the North Eastern parts covered by the Inner Line Permit regime and the areas under the Sixth Schedule. Nagaland and Mizoram remain protected by the Inner Line Permit. Manipur too has been excluded in view of the people’s objections to the proposed bill.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will be introducing the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to protect privacy of individuals by protecting their personal data and how the data is used by different entities.