Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016: Why Assam is on boil?

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has been gaining momentum amid protests against the Bill by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) and 44 other organizations in Assam.

These organisations called for the 12-hour shutdown in Assam to protest against the Centre’s proposal to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Winter Session of Parliament.

Key Highlights:-

1. Once the Bill is passed in Parliament, illegal migrants from certain minority communities such as Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India before December 31, 2014, will become eligible for Indian citizenship and hence, would not be imprisoned or deported.
2. As per the bill, the citizens would gain permanent citizenship of India by naturalisation after six years of residency in India instead of 11 years, as mentioned in the Citizenship Act, 1955.
3. In the case of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), their registration may get cancelled, if they violate any law.

Citizenship in India is currently covered under two legislations: Part II of the Constitution of India, 1950 and the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Articles 5 to 11 under Part II of the Constitution of India deal with citizenship. As per Article 9, a person who voluntarily acquires citizenship of any other country is no longer an Indian citizen.

Persons born outside India from December 3, 2004, onwards shall not be considered citizens of India unless their birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth. The Citizenship Act, 1995 prescribes 5 way of acquiring citizenship i.e. by Birth, Descent, Registration, Naturalisation, and Incorporation of the territory.

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