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Amit Shah Says Citizenship Bill Not Anti-Muslim, Rejects Oppn Charge That It is Unconstitutional

File photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah .

File photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah .

Replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha, he said the need to bring this Bill would not have arisen had Partition not taken place on the basis of religion.

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday rejected the Opposition's charge that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was anti-Muslim, saying it does not take away the citizenship of any Indian Muslim and only seeks to given the same to persecuted minorities of three neighbouring countries.

Replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha, Shah said the need to bring this Bill would not have arisen had Partition not taken place on the basis of religion. The Bill does not snatch away the citizenship of Muslims and there is no need for them to fear, he said.

"We have included six religions. There is no appreciation. The only focus is on Muslims. Will it be secularism only if Muslims are included?" he asked. "As per your definition, only if Muslims come then it will be secularism.

Shah said that in the last five years, over 500 Muslims have been accorded Indian citizenship.

Countering the Opposition's charge that the Bill is unconstitutional, he said that Article 14 of the Constitution does not prohibit Parliament from making laws in this regard if there is reasonable classification.

"There is a specific class. We are taking all minorities," Shah said.

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