The Indian Citizenship Amendment Bill was proposed in the Lok Sabha on July 19, 2016, amending the Citizenship Act of 1955. If this Bill is passed in the Parliament, illegal migrants from minority communities like Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan will be eligible for Indian citizenship,[1][2][3] excluding people from the Hindu community.[4] The Bill relaxes the requirement of residence in India from 11 years to 6 years for these migrants.[5]

Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016
Emblem of India.svg
Enacted byParliament of India
Status: Unknown

BackgroundEdit

The Bharatiya Janata Party had promised to grant citizenship to Hindus persecuted in the neighboring countries during the 2014 General Election. In the party's election manifesto, the BJP had promised to welcome Hindu refugees and give shelter to them. The main reasons why there has been opposition against the bill are concerns that the demography of Northeast India will change with the influx of migrants from Bangladesh. The bill also goes against ongoing update of national register of citizens and discriminates based on religious lines.[6]

Current Status of the BillEdit

The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 19, 2016. It was referred to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on August 12, 2016. The Committee submitted its report on January 7, 2019.[7] The Bills was passed in the Lok Sabha on 8th January 2019,[8] after it was introduced by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.[9] It will now be tabled in the Rajya Sabha in the Budget Session.[10] The Citizenship Amendment bill 2016 is likely to lapse on 3 June 2019 as the terms of this Lok Sabha ends.[11]

Protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Northeast IndiaEdit

AssamEdit

Illegal migration from Bangladesh is a huge issue that sparked violent protests in Assam in the early 80s after which the Assam Accord was signed in 1985 that says all foreigners who entered the state after March 24, 1971 would be deported.[12] 30 indigenous communities organizations including All Assam Students’ Union and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti have been holding protest all over the state. Concerns are raised over rights and livelihood of ethnic communities in the region.[13] Asom Gana Parishad, an ally of BJP severed ties and pulled out of the state government because the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 was passed in the Lok Sabha.[14] Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi has said in a rally on 27 January 2018 that Assam will secede from India if the Citizenship Amendment Bill is passed.[15] On 8 February, some of the agitators from All Assam Students Union and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti against Citizenship Amendment Act stripped naked infront of the Janata Bhawan.[16] Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has stated that he may resign from his job if the interest of Assam is not protected.[17]

MizoramEdit

More than 30,000 people responded to a call for protests by students and NGO's on 23rd January 2019,[18] because The Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2016 grants citizenship to the illegal Buddhist Chakma immigrants[19] from Bangladesh in the southern part of Mizoram,[20] displaced by the construction of Kaptai dam on the Karnaphuli River[21] in 1962, as there was no rehabilitation and compensation, they fled from Bangladesh to India.[22] The Chakma people also resisted inclusion into Bangladesh during Bangladeshi Independence in 1971 through armed struggled led by Shanti Bahini because they were ethnically, culturally and religiously distinct, this violent confrontation between Shanti Bahini and Bangladeshi Army, this led to Bangladeshi Chakma people fleeing Bangladesh for India.[23] The 2019, Republic day function in Mizoram was boycotted by NGO's including the Young Mizo Association throughout Mizoram.[24] The Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga has threatened to pull out of the North-East Democratic Alliance if the bill is passed.[25] Student Union Mizo Zirlai Pawl leader from Mizoram has said that if the Citizenship Amendment Bill is passed, it will affect the integrity of the country.[26]

MeghalayaEdit

The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government decided to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016,[27][28] as it fears that illegal immigrants will make them a minority, as Meghalaya is a small state.[29] Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh to reconsider the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, as it could prove to be a major law and order problem, not only for Meghalaya, but also for Northeast India.[30] Over 40,000 people assembled in Shillong on 1st of February 2019, in opposition against the Citizenship Amendment Act, organized by various civil society groups.[31][32] Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma threatened to quit BJP led NDA if the Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha.[33]

NagalandEdit

The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) and the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF)[34] have opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, as they see it as a threat to political future of the indigenous identity[35] of the people of Northeast tribals.[36] The People of Nagaland also fear the infiltration of illegal migrants from Assam after enaction of the act.[37]

ManipurEdit

People in Manipur have protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016[38] fearing it will become the dumping ground of foreigners,[39] including refugees.[40] 4 students were injured on 24 January 2019, when they stormed BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP K. Bhabananda Singh's house in Imphal, in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019.[41] Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has requested Home Minister Amit Shah to keep Manipur out of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.[42][43] An Improvised Explosive Device exploded in Imphal on 26 January 2019, due to backlash against the recent Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.[44]

TripuraEdit

At least 50 persons were injured in Tripura during a 12-hour shutdown jointly called by three tribal parties against the Centre's citizenship bill.[45] The Tripura Indigenous Tribal Parties Forum jointly protested against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016[46] as the Indigenous Kokborok community who used to be 80% of the population have been reduced to only 33% of the state population over the years.[47] The internet had been suspended for 2 days,[48] after six tribal youth were injured in police firing during clashes at protests against the citizenship bill on 8 January 2019.[49] The Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura is considering ending ties with the Bhartiya Janata Party because of the Citizenship amendment act.[50]

Arunachal PradeshEdit

Bangladeshi Buddhist Chakma were swept away by the construction of Kaptai Dam and confrontation between Bangladeshi army and Chakma armed resistance Shanti Bahini, led to many Chakma refugees fleeing to Mizoram and Tripura. The Governmnet of India anxious to avoid conflict between Mizo people and Chakma relocated them to Arunachal Pradesh. Implementation of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 would mean the roughly 100,000 Chakma, Tibetan, and Hajong[51] refugees would have the same right as citizens of Arunachal Pradesh.[52] Over 500 students protested against the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016[53]led by the indigenous public of Arunachal Pradesh.[54]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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