NEW DELHI: In a historic move, Parliament on Wednesday passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
With a majority of 125 is to 99 the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill passed the Rajya Sabha test.
The bill received support from friendly parties including the AIADMK, BJD, TDP, YSR-Congress while the Shiv Sena walked out before voting commenced.
The Assam and the Northeast have been on the boil but the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government hailed it as a landmark day.
Here’s how the foreign media reacted :
Divisive Citizenship Bill
The New York Times has carried an article with the headline, “Indian Parliament Passes Divisive Citizenship Bill, Moving It Closer to Law”. The article further writes:
“The upper house of the Indian Parliament passed a contentious citizenship bill on Wednesday, bringing a religiously polarizing measure one step closer to law as new protests erupted across the country.”
“The measure, called the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, uses religion as a criterion for determining whether illegal migrants in India can be fast-tracked for citizenship. The bill favors members of all South Asia’s major religions except Islam, and leaders of India’s 200-million-strong Muslim community have called it blatant discrimination,” read the New York Times report.
Al Jazeera has written, “The bill brings sweeping changes to India’s 64-year-old citizenship law by giving citizenship to “persecuted” minorities – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Pointedly excludes Islam
The Washington Post has carried the headline, “India passes controversial citizenship law excluding Muslim migrants”.
The article says, “Lawmakers in India on Wednesday passed a fundamental change to its citizenship law to include religion as a criterion for nationality for the first time, deepening concerns that a country founded on secular ideals is becoming a Hindu state that treats Muslims as second-class citizens.”
The Post further adds, “The new legislation creates a path to citizenship for migrants who belong to several South Asian religions but pointedly excludes Islam, the faith practiced by 200 million Indian citizens.”
The Independent has said, “India’s ruling Hindu nationalist government has won parliamentary approval for a controversial law that would make it easier for refugees of certain faiths from neighbouring countries to gain citizenship, but not Muslims.”
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill brought in by the Modi government, seeks to make an exception to this by bringing in religion to give refuge illegal infiltrators.
According to the Bill, people belonging to the minority communities – namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, facing religious persecution, will be given citizenship in India.
Muslims refugees are not covered in the ambit of the bill and are not welcome.
The Bill violates the Assam Accord of 1985.