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On 9 December, the lower house passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, which is the amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The debate which started at 4 PM on 9 December, went on for around seven-hour-long, following which the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members favoring it and 80 opposing it.

The object of the bill is to grant citizenship to the non-Muslims migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, who were forced or compelled to seek shelter in India due to expulsion on the grounds of religion.

Over the years, the Citizenship Act 1955 has been amended by successive Acts of 1986, 2003, 2005 and 2015 introducing different modes to citizenship. The contentious Bill of 2019, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 so that the refugees of the non-Muslim from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, who have entered India before 31 December 2014, will be exempted from the definition provided Section 2(1)(b) of the Act which defines ‘who is considered an illegal immigrant in India’.

“The Muslim citizens of these countries have been excluded because they cannot suffer discrimination based on religion, as they are recognized as Islamic countries by their constitutions,” the Union Home Minister Amit Shah said during the Lok Sabha debate.


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