The lower house of the Indian parliament has passed the proposed legislation with 311 votes in favour and only 80 against. Owaisi said that the legislation is an attempt to “divide the nation” and is against the basic principles of the Indian constitution.
"Don't include Muslims (In the legislation). But why do you hate Muslims so much? What is our crime?" Owaisi said, while asking the government the reasoning behind not including minorities.
Owaisi said that Mahatma Gandhi (Father of the Nation) gained the title "Mahatma" after he tore up the discriminatory citizenship card in South Africa. "This bill is against the constitution... it is worse than (Adolf) Hitler's law and a conspiracy to make Muslims stateless," Owaisi said in a fiery speech on Monday night.
Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members described Owaisi’s act as an "insult" to the house.
However, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, responding to the debate at around midnight emphasised that this bill has nothing to do with Indian Muslims and urged leaders like Owaisi to not pollute the minds of his countrymen.
"The Citizenship Amendment Bill wouldn't have been needed if the Congress had not allowed partition on the basis of religion. It was the Congress that divided the country on religious lines, not us," he repeated on several occasions while replying to every single questions raised against the legislation in the house.
Minister Shah also said that parties should not oppose the legislation in the upper house, as it will protect the people of six minorities - Hindus, Parsis, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains - from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who come to India due to persecution in order to preserve their religious freedom and protect the honour of the women of their family. The legislation will come up before the upper house later this week. Once approved, it will become the law of the land with assent from the president.
Trying to calm the anger in the northeastern states of the country, Amit Shah assures that they should not be worried about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as they are covered under the Inner Line Permit (ILP), i.e. the legislation will not be imposed in these areas.
In contrast to this legislation, Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the government will launch a national citizenship registry across India which seeks to deport people who have entered illegally from neighbouring countries, especially Muslim-majority Bangladesh and Buddhist-majority Myanmar.