Citizenship Bill to lapse as Rajya Sabha adjourns sine die, NE celebrates

NEW DELHI, Feb 13: The contentious Citizenship (amendment) Bill is set to lapse on 3 June when the term of the present Lok Sabha ends as it could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha which adjourned sine die on Wednesday.
The Budget session was the last Parliament session of the present government.
The 17th Lok Sabha has to be constituted before 3 June. The Lok Sabha polls are due this summer.
Bills introduced in the Rajya Sabha and pending there do not lapse with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. But Bills passed by the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha lapse.
The Opposition had been opposing provisions of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha where the government lacks numbers.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.
The legislation was passed by the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session on 8 January and has been awaiting the Rajya Sabha’s nod.
There has been strong opposition to the Bill in Northeastern states.
Student organisations, political parties and socio-cultural bodies have been protesting on the grounds that it seeks to grant nationality to non-Muslims who have come into India up to 31 December, 2014, thereby increasing the deadline from 1971 as per the Assam Accord.
Also, according to the Assam Accord, all illegal immigrants who have come after 1971, irrespective of their religion, have to be deported and this Bill violates that.
Two BJP chief ministers of the Northeast-Arunachal Pradesh’s Pema Khandu and Manipur’s N Biren Singh-have also voiced their opposition to the contentious Bill.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Bill is an “atonement of the wrong that was done during India’s Partition. India will safeguard all who had been victims of the Partition”.
On Saturday, addressing a rally in Assam, Modi said the Citizenship Bill won’t harm the interests of the people of the region but will provide succour to those who have “embraced the idea and ethos of Mother India”.
The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) has welcomed the move of non-tabling of Bill.
In a statement, the NESO termed it as victory for the whole northeast states.
The NESO has thanked all the component organizations who worked hard and sacrificed to oppose the bill.
“It is very imperative to thank the different state governments of the North East who have taken a bold stand on this issue, notably the state Government of Meghalaya led by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, the state Government of Mizoram led by CM Zoramthanga, the different students’ unions, social organisations, women organisations etc.”
They expressed their deep sense of appreciation to the different political parties they had met and had received unstinted support from for the cause, particularly the Shiv Sena, Congress, SP, BJD, TMC, DMK, SAD, NPP, AGP, JD (U) TDP, and BPF, the NESO said.
The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union has also wholeheartedly welcomed the non-passing of the CAB in the Rajya Sabha and termed the development as a “huge victory” for the people of Arunachal in particular and northeast in general against the unmindful and bulldozing tactics of the present BJP led union government.
Celebrations broke out across Assam which had been vehemently protesting against it.
Slogans such as “Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Sarbananda Sonowal, Himanta Biswa Sarma hai hai” rent the air here.
Organisations like the All Assam Students Union (AASU), Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity (KMSS), Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad claimed that not passing of the bill in the Rajya Sabha is a “victory of democracy, of the people of Assam and the northeast region against communal forces”.
AGP leader and former Assam chief minister Prafulla Mahanta, party chief Atul Bora, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya, KMSS chief Akhil Gogoi and top political leaders of the Congress are in Delhi to campaign against the bill.
Congress leader Pradyut Bordoloi said the people were “saved today from the conspiracy of the BJP to destroy the people in the NE region”.
“This democratic momentum of the people has to continue against the communal forces,” he added.
Assam PCC president Ripun Bora said the party fought against the controversial bill under the guidance of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and AICC president Rahul Gandhi.
The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was listed to be tabled in Rajya Sabha on 13 February amid protests in the northeast against the bill.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 11 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document. (PTI inputs)