Parliament passes Citizenship Amendment Bill: Narendra Modi hails law as proof of 'compassion, brotherhood'; Opposition says dark day for democracy
The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was described as unconstitutional by the slew of Opposition MPs who rose to oppose the legislation in the Upper House.
Narendra Modi was one of the first political leaders to react to the passage of the bill, which received 125 votes in favour, and 105 votes against it in the Rajya Sabha
Hailing the legislation, Modi said, 'A landmark day for India and our nation's ethos of compassion and brotherhood'
Opposition termed the passage of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha as a dark day in democracy, while terming the Bill as anti-constitutional
The BIll was passed by the Lok Sabha after a prolonged debate just after midnight on Tuesday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, hailing it as "a landmark day for India and our nation’s ethos of compassion and brotherhood!"
The Bill that will give Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh was passed in the Upper House of the Parliament with 125 votes in favour and 105 votes against it in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha after a prolonged debate just after midnight on Tuesday.
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, 2019.
— BJP (@BJP4India) December 11, 2019
Home Minister Amit Shah, who introduced the Bill in Parliament and was at the helm of the Centre's campaign for it, said, "The dreams of crores of deprived and victimised people have come true today."
As the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 passes in the Parliament, the dreams of crores of deprived & victimised people has come true today.
Grateful to PM @narendramodi ji for his resolve to ensure dignity and safety for these affected people.
I thank everyone for their support.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) December 11, 2019
Earlier, while replying to all questions raised by the Opposition leaders during the debate in the Rajya Sabha, Shah had said that Indians Muslims "need not worry". Opposition leaders have described as unconstitutional and anti-Muslim.
Several other ministers in the Modi Cabinet and BJP leaders also hailed the top brass for the successful passage of the Bill.
“Providing Humanitarian Dignity to Inhuman Discrimination”.. Congratulations to PM Shri @narendramodi Ji , Home Minister Shri @AmitShah Ji and all the Rajya Sabha Members for passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. #CAB2019
— Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (@naqvimukhtar) December 11, 2019
My grandfather came from Multan to Delhi as a refugee in 1947. He found dignity and success in this country. With this bill, I wish that all persecuted minorities also never have to look back! Congratulations to Hon’ble PM @narendramodi ji and Hon’ble HM @AmitShah ji! #CAB2019
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) December 11, 2019
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said, "I express my heartfelt gratitude to PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. This golden day of the Parliamentary history of India became possible only due to Modi ji. It also revealed the true face of Congress party and its allies."
Historic day for India as the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 gets passed in Parliament.
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) December 11, 2019
आज राज्यसभा में ऐतिहासिक 'नागरिकता संशोधन विधेयक, 2019' के पास होने पर आदरणीय प्रधानमंत्री श्री @narendramodi जी एवं आदरणीय गृह मंत्री श्री @AmitShah जी का हृदय से अभिनंदन करता हूँ तथा इस विधेयक का समर्थन करने वाले सभी सदस्यों को धन्यवाद देता हूँ।
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) December 11, 2019
Meanwhile, Opposition leaders, including those who didn't present arguments against the Bill in either Houses of Parliament, said it was a "dark day" for Indian democracy.
Union minister Piyush Goyal claimed that all parties of the North East, including those not with the BJP, voted in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi issued a statement soon after the passage of the Bill and said, "The passage of Citizenship Amendment Bill marks the victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India's pluralism."
— Congress (@INCIndia) December 11, 2019
No one in the government would take responsibility for the content of the CAB or its constitutionality.
The intent of the Bill is to tell the Muslims "you are not equal human beings with equal rights".
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) December 11, 2019
You should be ashamed as the PM.
How could you blatantly turn a blind eye to our nation that is in turmoil?
Today is a black day in history! Your government has destroyed our democracy, our foundation, our India.
— Srinivas B V (@srinivasiyc) December 11, 2019
Senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the Citizenship Amendment Bill will be challenged in court in the near future as it is "highly suspect" in terms of constitutionality.
"It is certainly legislation highly suspect in constitutionality in terms of basic structure and legal validity. I have no doubt that it deserves to be challenged and will in the near future be challenged (in court)," he said.
Another Congress leader Manish Tewari said that the Bill was "unconstitutional" and is going to be challenged in the apex court. Earlier on Wednesday, asked if the Congress would approach the Supreme Court against the Bill if it is passed by Parliament, veteran Congress leader KC Venugopal said, "We will explore all possibilities."
Additionally, TMC MP Derek O'Brien, who vociferously opposed the Bill in the Upper House on Wednesday, said, "This government only makes big promises but all their promises fail. Mamata Di has stated clearly that NRC and CAB will not be implemented in West Bengal."
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, under house arrest in Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370, had issued a whip to party MP Mir Mohammad Fayaz to be present in the House during the debate on the contentious legislation. Through her account, her daughter Iltija tweeted soon after the passage of the Bill.
Sinister CAB is being whitewashed as a virtuous bill that will protect persecuted minorities. Just as scrapping Article 370 was for J&Ks ‘development’. Truth is both reckless decisions were made to relegate muslims as second class citizens in their own country.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) December 11, 2019
New India - No country for humans
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) December 11, 2019
Other Opposition leaders also slammed the legislation, saying that it was an "assault" on democracy.
It is unconstitutional to link citizenship with religion.#CAB2019 is a direct assault on secularism, equality and fraternity - principles which are essential to any democracy.
AIADMK once again stands completely exposed for its decision to support this immoral legislation.
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) December 11, 2019
My, my @AmitShah says this isn’t against Muslims who are here. His own guy in Assam says it’ll shield Hindus while Muslims will go to Foreigners Tribunals (and therefore detention centres)
The deadline? Assam Assembly Elections in 2021
Delhi mein chori aur Assam mein seenazori? pic.twitter.com/iFZF4iRwx6
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) December 11, 2019
Meanwhile, former NDA ally Shiv Sena walking out of the House ahead of the vote was a significant development in the debate over the bill. Party MP Sanjay Raut said, "My party and I felt that when answers are not given properly then it is not right to either support or oppose the Bill."
"We didn't say that the refugees shouldn't be granted citizenship, they should be given. But we said that if it's a conspiracy for vote bank politics and allegations are being levelled against you then they should not be granted voting rights for 25 years. Secondly, if you look at the population and resources of India, how many people can you take in? They also did not clear the stand on Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka. There are so many things," he said.
Even Congress leader P Chidambaram welcomed the development of the Shiv Sena not explicitly supporting the BJP on the legislation. "Shiv Sena not voting for the Bill after voting for it in Lok Sabha, is a welcome development," said Chidambaram.
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