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Thu, 05 Dec 2019

Northeast Today

Union Cabinet Gives Green Signal to Citizenship Amendment Bill

Union Cabinet Gives Green Signal to Citizenship Amendment Bill
December 04
11:42 2019

NET Bureau

Inching closer to legitimising refugees of select nationalities and religions residing in India, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which will now be tabled in Parliament next week.

The Cabinet’s go-ahead proves crucial, since the Bill will now be tabled in the wake of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s resolve to conduct a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise before the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls. While Opposition parties have been staunchly opposed to both, the passage of the Citizenship bill in both houses of Parliament will prove pivotal for the BJP, which made the bill one of its biggest poll agendas, in 2019.

The Union Cabinet’s clearance comes a day after Union home minister Amit Shah concluded the final round of talks with various stakeholders in the north-eastern states. While student bodies, civil society groups as well as the All Assam Students Union, have been concerned about the impact of the Bill on the indigenous people of the north-east, a person familiar with the development said that Shah had “heard out their concerns during the meetings.”

Earlier this year, during the winter session of Parliament (2018-19), the Lok Sabha had passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016. While the Bill was awaiting passage by the Upper House, it lapsed after the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, aims to provide citizenship to those who had been forced to seek shelter in India because of religious persecution or fear of persecution in their home countries, primarily Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This is a drastic shift from the provisions of the Citizenship Act of 1955 that labels a person an “illegal immigrant” if he or she has entered India without travel documents or has overstayed the date specified in the documents.

Source: Livemint

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