Even as protests continue in Assam and other Northeastern states, the government is likely to clear the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, at a meeting of the Union Cabinet on December 4th, 2019 morning.
The Cabinet meeting is scheduled at 9.30 am, as reported by several media. The Bill will be tabled by Home Minister Amit Shah in the Parliament.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has asked party MPs to be present in large numbers when Shah tables the Bill in Parliament. Singh equated the significance of the Bill with the move to nullify Article 370 provisions.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who fled religious persecution from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.
Massive protests are going on across the state. The members of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) took out cycle, motorcycle rally across the state in protest against the Bill. The protesters shouted slogans against the Bill and slammed Assam Chief Minister’s Sarbananda Sonowal’s “stoic silence” on the Bill.
The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the Bill in its previous tenure. Though the Bill was passed by the previous Lok Sabha in January 2019, it lapsed in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill was then referred to a Joint Committee of Parliament.
The introduction of the controversial Bill assumes great significance as Shah has said that the Centre will introduce the National Register of Citizens exercise across the country to weed out illegal citizens but only after the Bill is passed.
Photo credit: The Better India