The publicity wing of the central government has issued an eight-point explainer on the Bill
The much-talked-about Indian Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is expected to be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday afternoon.
The bill, which was passed in Lok Sabha on Monday, needs 121 votes out of 240 in the upper house, reports the NDTV.
However, the BJP and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), are confident of passing the bill as they expect supports from 14 others along with its own 116 members in the house.
Shiv Sena members are among the 14 lawmakers who are expected to support the bill in Rajya Sabha.
On Monday, at the stroke of midnight, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed getting 311 votes in favour, while 80 votes went against the bill.
Shiv Sena, which voted in favour of the Bill in the Lok Sabha, said its support in the Rajya Sabha is not certain. However, even if the Shiv Sena does not support, the BJP is confident of managing the majority mark.
Seven members of Odisha's Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's BJD are also among the 14 non-aligned lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) which has been opposing the bill from the very beginning, has 64 members in Rajya Sabha.
The opposition alliance expects 46 others, like the Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Communist Party of India (Marxist), to oppose the bill, taking its total to 110.
Congress criticises the bill, saying it will grant citizenship to religious minorities including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from neighbouring countries, but not Muslims which is discriminatory.
Meanwhile, the publicity wing of the central government – the Press Bureau of India – has issued an eight-point explainer on the Bill, reports India Today.
The bill will provide citizenship to Bengali Hindus
The bill does not automatically confer Indian citizenship to Bengali Hindus. It is just an enabling legislation for persons belonging to six minority communities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It has been proposed on extremely humanitarian grounds as these minorities had fled from these three countries due to persecution on grounds of their religion.
It dilutes 'Assam Accord'
The bill does not dilute the sanctity of the Assam Accord as far as the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, stipulated for detection and deportation of illegal immigrants is concerned.
Against the interest of Assam's indigenous people
Citizenship Amendment Bill is not Assam-centric. It is applicable to the whole country. The bill is definitely not against National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is being updated to protect indigenous communities from illegal immigrants.
The bill will lead to domination of Bengali speaking people
Most of the Hindu Bengali population is settled in Barak Valley of Assam, where Bengali is declared the second State language. In Brahmaputra Valley, Hindu Bengalis are settled in isolated pockets and have adapted themselves to Assamese language.
Bengali Hindus will become burden for Assam
The bill is applicable to the whole country. Persons facing religious persecution are not settled only in Assam. They are staying in other parts of the country as well.
Trigger fresh migration of Hindus from Bangladesh
Most of the minorities have already migrated from Bangladesh. Moreover, the scale of atrocities on them in Bangladesh has been coming down in recent years. In the changed scenario, large-scale migration on account of religious persecution is now a remote possibility. Further, there is a cut-off date of December 31, 2014 and benefits under Citizenship Amendment Bill will not be available for members of the religious minorities who migrate to India after the cut-off date.
A ploy to grab tribal land by accommodating Hindu Bengalis
Hindu Bengalis are mostly settled in Barak Valley, away from tribal belts and blocks. Further, Citizenship Amendment Bill does not contradict laws and regulations for protection of tribal lands. Citizenship Amendment Bill is not applicable in areas where provisions of ILP and sixth schedule of the Constitution apply.
Discriminatory against Muslims
Any foreigner of any religion from any country can apply for Indian citizenship if he/she is eligible to do so as per the existing provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Citizenship Amendment Bill does not change these provisions at all. It only enables migrants of six minority communities from three countries to apply for Indian citizenship if they meet the given criteria.