Citizenship Bill likely to be tabled in Rajya Sabha today

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Protests in NE against CAB due to ‘misplaced apprehensions’: Rijiju

HT Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Feb 12: The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, which seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, will be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday amid protests in the Northeast.

Rajya Sabha proceedings were disrupted Tuesday following protests by the Samajwadi Party and other opposition parties over alleged stopping of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav at Lucknow airport to prevent him from visiting Allahabad. The trouble started in the first half after as many as 15 members had made Zero Hour mention on matters of public importance.

Samajwadi Party members were up on their feet trying to raise the issue but Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu ordered that nothing would go on record.

The Bill will be moved by Union home minister Rajnath Singh in the Upper House. The Bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha on January 8 and if cleared in Rajya Sabha, it will become a law.

The Bill seeks to grant nationality to Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Jains from the neighbouring countries, but not Muslims. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 will grant nationality to Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Jains but not Muslims who fled from the three neighbouring countries from religious persecution and entered India before December 31, 2014.

This has led to widespread protests in Assam and the other northeastern states who have raised strong objections about discriminating against immigrants and said that no infiltrator, irrespective of their religion, should be given citizenship rights. The protesters say the Bill, which seeks to allow citizenship to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh who came to the state after March 1971, is a violation of the Assam Accord, 1985.

Earlier, Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju informed the Lok Sabha that the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Northeast were happening due to certain “misplaced apprehensions” about the proposed legislation.

Rijiju said that political leaders from Northeastern states, including some chief ministers, have met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on various issues related to the region, including the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and its provisions have been clarified to them.

Rijiju said the Centre has also apprised representatives of the Northeastern states about the steps taken to preserve the cultural, social and linguistic identity and heritage of people region. A high level committee to examine effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord has already been constituted, he said.

The government has also introduced a Bill for amendment to Article 280 and the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India for improving financial resources and administrative powers of Autonomous District Councils of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura to fulfil longstanding aspirations of tribal people of these states, he said.

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