Non-Muslim minorities from three nations who came to India after Independence will be given Indian citizenship, the home minister said, adding that Muslim migrants from the world over cannot be given citizenship.
The BJP government will protect the interests of Assamese, Shah said.
Later, addressing concerns of Opposition members, the home minister said, “This bill is to give citizenship, not to take away citizenship. The citizenship of Indian Muslims not being taken away. Neither citizenship bill, nor triple talaq bill nor bill scrapping Article 370 are anti-Muslim.”
Shah further said that India can never be ‘Muslim-mukt‘ (free from Muslims) while replying to a debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
“Javed Ali Khan (Samajwadi Party leader) said that we will become ‘Muslim-mukt‘. Javed Ali Sahab, this country will not be free from Muslims even if you want it to be,” the home minister said.
Shah said that the Bill has been brought to rectify a historic blunder — the Partition — and give a dignified life to non-Muslims of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who fled religious persecution and settled in India before 31 December, 2014.
“Despite Kapil Sibal and Anand Sharma’s insistence, I would once again say that the Partition happened on the basis of religion. It was a blunder, which forced me to introduce this Bill,” he said.
Shah said: “This Bill is to address the problem created by the Partition. Also, if any government would have solved the problem, there would have been no need for this Bill.”
Replying to Congress MPs P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal’s concerns, Shah said the Article 14 of the Constitution allows the Parliament to frame laws based on “reasonable classification” which, he said, was in the Bill.