LS passes citizenship (amendment) bill

A bill seeking to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Piloting the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Opposition that the bill was not against the provisions of the Constitution and would give succour to persecuted minorities in the three neighbouring countries.

The Bill provides for according Indian citizenship to the the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years currently even if they do not possess any document.

"They have no place to go to, except India," he said, adding several leaders including first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru were in favour of giving shelter to persecuted minorities in the neighouring countries.

He said although Indian leaders signed pacts with leaders of Pakistan and Bangladesh for protection of minorities but unfortunately it had not happened.

Even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while speaking as Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha had asked the then BJP-led government to be more liberal in dealing with the issue of persecuted minorities in Bangladesh, the minister said.