New Delhi, January 8: The Parliament of India on Tuesday passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Lok Sabha even after the Congress as always staged a walkout. With the new legislation The Bill provides for according Indian citizenship to the the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years even if they do not possess any document.
Tabling the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha earlier on Tuesday, Union Minister Rajnath Singh cleared the confusion stating that the bill is not just for Assam but other states too. The Indian government seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Addressing the Lok Sabha by tabling the bill, Union Minister Rajnath Singh stated the Opposition that the bill was not against the provisions of the Constitution and would give succour to persecuted minorities in the three neighbouring countries.
The Bill provides for according Indian citizenship to the the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years even if they do not possess any document. Under the 1955 Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years.
The Bill relaxes this 11-year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the all the six religions from the three countries.
“They have no place to go to, except India,” he said, adding several leaders including first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru were in favour of giving shelter to persecuted minorities in the neighouring countries.
Rajnath Singh mentioned that the bill is important to safeguard people’s interests in Assam, as the state is dealing with illegal migration for a long time now and that Assam’s burden is India’s burden. The government is also committed towards National Register of Citizens and also asserted that there will be no discrimination in NRC. He said the Centre has taken several measures to implement the Assam Accord.