The Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019 passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship. The bill has now been tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
During the discussion on the Bill, Home Minister Rajnath Singh clarified that the bill is not just for Assam but for other states too. He said it is also for migrants who have come from the Western borders and have settled down in Rajasthan, Punjab, and Delhi.
The Minister added that Assam is dealing with illegal migration for a long time now and the state’s burden is India’s burden. He said that it is the central government’s responsibility to protect the identity, culture of the people of Assam.
1. Under the 1955 Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalization is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months and for 11 of the previous 14 years.
2. The bill relaxes this 11-year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the all the six religions from the three countries.
3. While moving the bill, Singh said that the government is committed for National Register of Citizens (NRC).
4. He asserted that there will be no discrimination in NRC. He also said that the Centre has taken several measures to implement the Assam Accord.
5. The Leader of the Opposition in the house, Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that the bill should be sent to the Select Committee of the House.
6. The bill was passed in the lower house of the parliament amidst a walkout by some of the opposition members including those of Congress and TMC.