Citizenship Amendment Bill scheduled to be introduced in Lok Sabha

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is scheduled to be introduced in the Lok Sabha today. The Bill has been listed in the business of the Lower House.

The legislation is intended to amend the existing law in order to grant exemptions to illegal migrants in selected categories. The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants of six communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. The communities are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians. The legislation relaxes the 11-year criteria for citizenship to six years for refugees belonging to these six religions.

The Bill also proposes to give immunity to such refugees facing legal cases after being found illegal migrants. The amendment will not be applicable to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and in the areas covered under the Inner Line Permit (ILP). The ILP regime is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.

The bill was passed by the last Lok Sabha but it could not be taken up in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill has triggered protests in the northeastern States. Parties like Congress, TMC and Left have already objected to the provisions of the bill. Senior Congress leaders held a meeting in New Delhi yesterday evening and discussed the strategy over the bill. Party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the Congress will oppose the bill as it is in violation of the Constitution and secular ethos of the country.

Meanwhile, BJP has issued a whip to its MPs in the Lok Sabha, asking them to be present in the House till Wednesday. Trinamool Congress has also issued a whip its MPs for four days from today.

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