As the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was tabled in Lok Sabha today amid the uproar by the opposition parties, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the Bill is not applicable to the State of Assam alone but will apply to the whole country. The Bill will also cover the immigrants which have settled in other parts of the country. The Bill will allow the immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities to be eligible for the Indian citizenship if they came to India before December 31, 2014.
The Union Minister assured that the government is willing to take all necessary steps to deal with illegal immigrants. He said that illegal migrants are a shared burden of the country and not just the burden of the State of Assam alone.
Congress and Trinamool Congress walked out during the debate on the Bill in the Lok Sabha. TMC leader Saugata Roy said that Muslims should be included in the Bill to make it secular. “Muslims are not included among the six religions mentioned in the bill. Make it secular. Anyone who comes out of religious persecution should be included if they seek asylum in India,” he said. He urged the Speaker to intervene terming the Bill a threat to the Constitution.
The Bill has been facing a lot of opposition from certain quarters. State-wide protests are being organised by the groups opposing the Amendment Bill. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) called for an 11-hour bandh in Assam protesting against the tabling of the Bill in the Lower House. Incidents of violence are also reported to have taken place at several places.
#AssamBandh | Protestors at the DC Office in Dibrugarh.
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) January 8, 2019
The Assam police urged the people not to support the anti-social elements indulging in violence.
No miscreant who disturbs the peace can escape the hands of law. Pls don’t support such anti-social elements. They are destroying not only public/private property, but also the social fabric. https://t.co/dRJ1xXRIfQ
— Assam Police (@assampolice) January 8, 2019
The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), an ally of the BJP in Assam withdrew from the alliance on Monday over the Bill. The other allies of the BJP in the North Eastern States, National People’s Party (NPP) and the Mizoram National Front (MNF) have also opposed the Bill and have supported the protests.