Lok Sabha Passes Citizenship Bill, Assam Protests

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The Lok Sabha, on Tuesday, passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which led to protests in Assam.

The Citizenship Bill will provide citizenship to different communities such as the Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis from countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The bill is directed toward those individuals who are residing in India since before the 31st of December, 2014.

The migrants will have to pass certain government scrutinies, recommendations of the district authorities and the State Governments of the Country, to be eligible for the provisions of the bill.

The Lok Sabha, after intense debate, passed the bill. However, parties like the Congress party and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) opposed the bill and walked out.

Rajnath Singh, the Home Minister of India, approved the bill and said, “I want to clarify that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is not for Assam alone or for the betterment of migrants coming from a particular country. This bill is also for migrants who have come from the Western borders and have settled down in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.”

The Citizenship Bill triggered protests in Assam as organisations such as the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) raised black flags against the National Democratic Alliance Government. Opposing the Citizenship Bill, the AASU called for a shutdown in the State for 11 hours and as a result of this, the State is witnessing a strike, today, from 5:00 A.M., to 4:00 P.M. The Tripura Government suspended mobile and internet services due to increased violence.

The residents of Assam are protesting against the bill as it goes against the Assam Accord signed between the student bodies and the Central Government in 1985. According to the Assam Accord, illegal migrants should be identified and deported from the State.

Rajnath Singh spoke about the residence of the migrant people and said, “The burden of those persecuted migrants will be shared by the whole country. Assam alone should not have to bear the entire burden.” He further said, “The government of India is committed to give all help to the state government and people of Assam.”

After the Lok Sabha’s approval, the Rajya Sabha, today, will table the bill. The Congress party and the opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha are likely to send the bill to a Selection Committee for scrutiny and then, the Rajya Sabha will take a decision.

With the passing of the two bills, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Parliamentary Houses will conclude their Winter Session, today.

Stay tuned for further updates about the story.

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