Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha. The lower house witnessed an intense debate over the controversial bill that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31 2014. A cross-section of Opposition parties opposed the bill, terming it "unconstitutional". The Opposition Congress opposed the bill, saying that it was violative of various provisions of the Constitution, including move to grant citizenship on the basis of religion. However, the home minister defended it saying the bill was brought the basis of "reasonable classifications" provided under the Constitution.
Below is who said what on the Citizenship Amendment Bill:
Union Home Minister Amit Shah: The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 has the endorsement of 130 crore citizens of the country as it was the part of the BJP manifesto in 2014 as well as 2019 Lok Sabha elections. We will have to differentiate between intruders and refugees. The Citizenship Amendment Bill does not discriminate against anyone and does not snatch anyone’s rights. There is no political agenda behind this Bill. In 1947, all refugees which came in were accepted by the Indian Constitution, there would hardly be any region of the country where refugees from West and East Pakistan didn’t settle. From Manmohan Singh to LK Advani, all belong to this category. After independence, if Congress had not done partition on the basis on religion, then, today we would have not needed this Bill. Congress did partition on the basis of religion.
Manish Tewari, Congress: This is against article 14, article 15, article 21, article 25 and 26 of the Indian constitution. This bill is unconstitutional and against basic right of equality. Today, the home minister said that the Congress is responsible for the partition on basis of religion, I want to make it clear that the foundation for the two-nation theory was laid in 1935 in Ahmedabad by (Vinayak Damodar) Savarkar in a Hindu Mahasabha session, and not by the Congress.
AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi: The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 is a conspiracy to make Muslims "stateless" and will lead to another partition. The bill is against the Constitution and disrespectful to our freedom fighters. This Bill is worse than the laws of Hitler. What crime have we Muslims done to you?
Shashi Tharoor, Congress: This bill will prove Jinnah's two nation theaory. India has already faced partition of soil once, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be the partition of India's soul.
SS Badal, SAD: Why don't we add names of Muslims? There are cases of Muslims being persecuted within their religion. I'll give you example of Ahmadiyya community in Punjab, Qadian is their HQ all over the world. They're minority Muslims in Pakistan.
Abhishek Banerjee, AITC: Swami Vivekananda would be shell shocked if he was here seeing this bill as it is against his idea of India. BJP's idea of India is divisive. It will be disastrous if we ignore words of Mahatma Gandhi and not heed the advice of Sardar Patel.
Supriya Sule, NCP: Home Minister Amit Shah said the Bill, which lapsed in the previous Lok Sabha, was discussed by a Joint Parliamentary Country and question regarding religion were discussed. But checking with the JPC report, we did not approve the current model of the Bill. Entire ethos of our democracy is equality and talking about Article 14 and 15, I am not convinced by the home minister, it will be struck down in the Supreme Court. I request him to rethink of it and please withdraw the bill.
Badruddin Ajmal, AIUDF: We want the government to take this Bill back. It is against Assam, Constitution and unity of Hindus and Muslims. It is the government's divide and rule policy. We will reject this Bill and Opposition is with us on it. We will not let this Bill pass with the support of Opposition.