New Delhi - India’s upper house of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, also passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill on Wednesday, choosing not to send the contentious bill to a select panel for review. The bill was passed with 125 votes in favour and 105 against it. Besides BJP, its allies such as JD-U and SAD, the legislation was supported by AIADMK, BJD, TDP and YSR-Congress. The Shiv Sena, a former ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, walked out before the vote. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday. It will now go to the President for his assent. Earlier the House rejected a motion to have the bill sent to a select committee of the House with 124 members voting against it as compared to 99 in its favour. The House also rejected several amendments moved by opposition members to the bill, most by voice vote.

Home Minister Amit Shah tried to fend off criticism over his government’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill in Rajya Sabha in his reply to the House, as protests against bill escalated in India’s northeast. Shah once again repeated the justification he made for the bill in Lok Sabha — that it was the country’s partition in 1947 that made the proposed amendment necessary. He replied to criticism from Tamil Nadu parties, which ask why the bill, if its stated intention was to protect minorities being persecuted, did not mention Sri Lankan Tamils, many of whom had fled their home country and come to India during the decades of war that ended in 2008. “Laws have been made in the past to address problems of Tamils coming from Sri Lanka. Now a law is being made to address the problem from three other nations,” he said. “Some 8-9 lakh Tamils from Sri Lanka were given Indian citizenship in the past.”