New Delhi: After tabling the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that there has been a 20 per cent decline in the population of religious minorities in each Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“This bill would give hope to people who were living a miserable life. There has been an almost 20% decline each in the population of religious minorities in both Pakistan and present day Bangladesh. Either they were killed, changed their religion or they fled to India for shelter to save themselves and their religion,” Shah said in the Upper House.
“They did not get citizenship, rights to buy houses, and education, jobs. This Bill would give rights to those persecuted minorities,” he said.
The minister said that his party BJP had mentioned it as one of their election promises.
“During elections, we made the announcement (about Bill). People gave the mandate for this,” he said.
Shah misinformation that the Bill is anti-Muslim is being peddled around.
“Misinformation has been spread that this Bill is against Muslims of India. I want to ask the people saying this, how is this bill related to Indian Muslims? They are Indian citizens and will always remain so, no discrimination against them,” he said.
“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 Constitution, minorities will get full protection,” the minister said.
Shah said that there are provisions in the CAB to preserve the rights of northeastern states, language, culture, and social identity provisions.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
Opposition parties including Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress, DMK are protesting against the bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday with a majority of 311 votes against 80 in the Lower House where 391 members were present and voted.
In the 245-member Rajya Sabha, the halfway mark is currently 121 as five seats are vacant bringing down the strength of the House to 240. (ANI)