Union Cabinet have approved the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, but the opposition is opposing this. Let’s know what are the provisions in this bill and why is the opposition opposing it…
- The Bill provides for the granting of citizenship of India to non-Muslim refugees (Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsi and Christian community) victims of religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The Citizenship Act 1955 is proposed to be amended under the Civil Amendment Bill 2019. Through this change, citizenship will be given to those non-Muslim refugees who have been living in India for the past one year to six years.
- States where Inner Line Permit (ILP) is in force and six Scheduled Tribe Areas in four states of North East are exempted from the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).
- Presently, the period of acquiring citizenship under the Citizenship Act 1955 applicable in India is 11 years. The period for acquiring citizenship has to be relaxed from one year to six years under this rule.
- Through this Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, refugees from Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsi and Christian communities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will get citizenship of India in one to six years instead of 11 years.
- According to Citizenship Act 1955, illegal migrants cannot get citizenship of India. In this, people who have entered India without valid travel documents like passports and visas or have stayed here for more than the mentioned period are considered illegal migrants.
- Illegal migrants may be imprisoned or sent back to their countries. But, through the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, the central government has changed the old laws and exempted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
- That is, under the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, if non-Muslim refugees are found in India without valid documents, they will not be sent to jail nor will they be deported.
- The opposition alleges that Muslims have been targeted through this bill. The Bill violates Article 14 of the Constitution which talks about the right to equality. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said on Wednesday that this undermines the fundamental principles of the Constitution. Tharoor said that this bill is unconstitutional as it violated India’s basic ideas.
- On the other hand, organizations in the North-East say that if the Citizenship Amendment Bill is implemented, it will threaten the identity of the North East indigenous people and will threaten their livelihood.
- It is quite clear that it is not a wise step on the part of government and there is no doubt that such a decision takes its routes from anti- Muslim ideology of BJP. Granting citizenship to every citizen except Muslims is going to broaden the religious gaps in India.
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