The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday night passed the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill after a day-long debate. 125 MPS voted in favour, while 105 voted against the Bill. The Shiv Sena remained absent from the vote.
The Lok Sabha had already passed the Bill that aims at giving automatic citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants living in India. Home Minister Amit Shah had promised to give automatic citizenship all non-Muslim infiltrators during an election rally in West Bengal earlier this year. This was to ensure that only Muslims are sent to detention centres when the Narendra Modi government announces NRC across the country.
Reacting to the Rajya Sabha passing the Bill, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said, “Today marks a dark day in the constitutional history of India. The passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill marks the victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India’s pluralism. The Bill fundamentally challenges the idea of India that our forefathers fought for and, in its place, creates a disturbed, distorted and divided India where religion will become a determinant of nationhood.
“The Citizenship Amendment Bill is not just an affront to the eternal principles of equality and religious non-discrimination that have been enshrined in our Constitution, but represents a rejection of an India that would be a free nation for all her people, irrespective of religion, region, caste, creed, language or ethnicity. In its design its grave implications, this flawed legislation is antithetical to the spirit of the freedom movement and violative of the soul of our nation.”
Earlier, the Rajya Sabha TV’s LIVE broadcast was stopped briefly after some members tried to heckle Amit Shah. The broadcast was reportedly stopped at the behest of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who’s also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha. When the broadcast resumed after a few minutes, the Upper House of the parliament was in perfect order with only Shah speaking.