Lok Sabha passes Citizenship Bill

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed The Citizenship Amendment Bill with the government asserting that the draft law is not confined to the state of Assam.

‘Yeh jimmedari sirf Assam ki nahi hae (The responsibility to shoulder the implementation of the Bill will not only be with the state of Assam),” Mr Singh said replying to three-hour long debate.

The Minister said the government was firmly committed to protect the interest of indigenous people of Assam and the Centre was ready to talk to any aggrieved group.

‘It is the solemn responsibility of the central government to protect the culture, tradition and rights of the indigenous people,’ he said.

The debate on the Bill, which has sparked off agitation in parts of Assam, was marked by walkout by the Congress and the Trinamool Congress.

The Opposition members mainly from North Eastern states — Gaurav Gogoi, Ninong Ering, Vincent Pala (all Congress), and Jitendra Chaudhury and Sankar Prasad Datta (both CPI-M) also rushed to the Well and raised anti-government slogans.

The Home Minister said the Bill has been considered in details by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) and the panel has also suggested changes in the Bill as brought in 2016.

“I want to clarify that 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, Punjab, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan,” Mr Singh said.

At the same time, the Home Minister said the government is committed towards National Register of Citizens – which is essential feature of the Assam Accord of 1985 and was not being implemented.

“There will be no discrimination in NRC,” he said adding all the necessary steps will be taken to deal with illegal migrants.

Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the issue is sensitive and many states have ‘reservation’ on the Bill and thus the draft law should be referred to a Select Committee.

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