New Delhi: The Narendra Modi cabinet on Monday cleared the redrafted Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the bill and it is expected to be tabled in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
Sources stated that the proposed legislation seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to grant Indian nationality to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 even if they don’t possess any proper document.
The government move came within hours of the presentation in Lok Sabha of a report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee examining the bill that was first introduced in Parliament in 2016.
Large sections of people in Assam and other northeastern states have been protesting against the bill, saying it would nullify the 1985 Assam Accord under which any foreign national, irrespective of religion, who had entered the state after 1971 should be deported.
This was an election promise of the BJP in 2014. Eight influential students’ bodies of the Northeast, besides more than 40 socio-cultural organisations of Assam, have called an 11-hour ‘bandh’ Tuesday in protest against the central government’s move to amend the Citizenship Act. The JPC report was prepared with a majority vote as opposition members have opposed the move to grant citizenship on the basis of religion saying it is against the Constitution.