The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was on Wednesday tabled in Rajya Sabha after it was passed in the Lok Sabha with a 311-80 margin on Monday. Moving the Bill, Union Home Minister Amit Shah Wednesday clarified that Indian Muslims have nothing to worry about as they “were, are and will remain Indian citizens”.
Earlier this morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Bill will be written in “golden letters” in history, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the Bill is an attempt by “Modi-Shah Govt to ethnically cleanse the North East” and a “criminal attack” on the region.
Here’s how the debate is unfolded in Parliament:
Vaiko: The MDMK member in Rajya Sabha also opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, saying, “If this obnoxious, abominable, undemocratic, unreasonable, unpardonable, unjustifiable, unconstitutional Bill is passed today in this Council of State, it will become a black chapter in the annals of this Upper House.”
Sanjay Singh: Opposing this Bill, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said it is against the Constitution made by Baba Saheb Ambedkar. “It is against the Preamble of the Constitution. It is against the India of the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh,” he said.
Praful Patel: Opposing the Bill, NCP leader Praful Patel said the Bill is being brought in haste. He said the newspapers have also been reporting about the protests in Assam and North East region, against the Bill. He said the Bill must have gone through more discussion and debate in the House while saying that it must have been sent to Select Committee. “I don’t understand what problem the government is facing in going through this procedure,” he said. “This law was made in 1955 and it also went through amendments from time to time. Those amendments were enough,” he said while adding that we had proper laws in place to help people who faced persecution. He said history is evident that we rehabilitated people not only in Maharashtra but other parts of the country as well.
Kapil Sibal: Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement “CAB wouldn’t have been needed if Congress hadn’t allowed partition on basis of religion”: “I don’t understand which history books the home minister has read. The two-nation theory is not our theory. It was perpetrated by Savarkar. Even B R Ambedkar said that instead of being against each other, Jinnah and Savarkar were in agreement that there were two different nations based on religion.” “I request the Home Minister to withdraw that allegation because we in Congress believe in that one nation, you don’t believe in that,” he said.
On Amit Shah’s statement that the Muslims should not be worried in the country, Sibal said, “You are trying to decide who is going to stay in the country and who is not, based on a person’s name. You made a very objectionable statement earlier. Which Muslim fears you? No Indian Muslim fears you. Neither I nor any other citizen of the country is scared of you. We fear only from the Constitution of the country.”
P Chidambaram: Calling the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill ‘insidious’, veteran Congress leader P Chidambaram Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that the central government was ramming through the contentious Bill to “advance its Hindutva agenda”. “Indian Citizenship has been based on birth and descent as per the Constitution. This (CAB) Bill is introducing an arbitrary concept of citizenship through an executive fiat,” Chidambaram told the Upper House.
Manoj Kumar Jha: Opposing the Bill, Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD said the Union Home minister must try to understand the constitutional, historical and practical perspective of the CAB. “I think you might be creating a blunder. It goes against the very tenet of constitutional morality. It is unreasonable classification, it is morally bad, constitutionally bad law. The minister needs to understand the basis on which people are persecuted. Things born out of NRC have led the government to come up with CAB. Even the authentication cost is very much, that money should be used for education instead. We have followed the model of Israel. I request the government to use majority in a better way,” he said.
Amit Shah: Terming the bill historic, Shah said, the bill is a hope for the oppressed and will help lakhs of people who face religious indifference in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. “No Muslim in India needs to worry due to this Bill. Don’t get scared if someone tries to scare you. This is Narendra Modi’s government working according to the constitution, minorities will get full protection,” he said.
Anand Sharma: Opposing the bill, Congress leader Anand Sharma asked why the government is in a hurry to pass the bill. Stating that it should be first sent to a standing committee, Anand said, the bill fails the morality test. “The bill that you have brought is an assault on the very foundation of the Indian constitution, it is an assault on the Republic of India. It hurts the soul of India. It is against our constitution and democracy. It fails the morality test,” said Anand Sharma.
JP Nadda: Clarifying the essence of the bill BJP working president JP Nadda said, ” The Opposition quoted Right to equality which is Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. But the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has got nothing to with equality. You should come with me to Kutch, Indore border, if you will see the plight of Hindu refugees prosecuted in Pakistan, you will immediately give your consent to the Bill.
Derek O’ Brien: Trinamool leader Derek O Brien attacked the Centre over the Citizenship Bill and said the government is very good at making promises, it is even better at breaking promises. “This party (BJP) is based on three Js – Jhoot (Lies), Jhaansa (cheating) and Jumla. In the last 5 years, 2 crore people have lost their job,” he said.
“PM Modi said the Bill will be written in golden letters. I will tell you where it will be written — It will be written on Jinnah’s grave,” he added.
RCP Singh: Putting a rest to the speculation over the support on CAB, JD(U) leader RCP Singh said, “we support this bill. The bill is very clear, it gives citizenship to persecuted minorities from three of our neighbouring countries, but here debate is being done on our Indian Muslim brothers.”