Union Home Minister Amit Shah tabled the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 in the upper house of the parliament today. The Bill was earlier passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members voting in favour of the bill while 80 voted against it.
Addressing the Rajya Sabha, Amit Shah first took the opportunity to rubbished the rumours doing the rounds about the Muslim population of the country being adversely affected by the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. “I want to assure everyone that Muslims living in India will not be affected by this bill. They were, are and will remain the citizen of this country and our government is committed for their protection,” Shah said.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, in order to grant Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians, who come to India because of religious persecution in Islamic countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan even if they do not possess proper documents. Some of the provisions of the bill as listed down by Shah in Rajya Sabha today are as follows:
- Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Christians, Jains and Buddhists refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have come to India without a passport, visa or other legal document or their passport and visa have expired will not be considered as illegal immigrants.
- According to the new provision 6(B) included in the CAB 2019, if the refugees belonging to the above 6 religious groups follow the due procedures and apply for the citizenship, they will be granted the Indian citizenship.
- There is also a provision for those refugees who have complied by the rules of Section 5/Schedule 3 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and have procured citizenship of the country, they will be granted the citizenship from the day they have come to India and thus will be immune from facing legal consequences in future.
- The Bill also includes a special provision that invalidates all the pending infiltration/citizenship cases against such refugees residing in India. All the cases of illegal immigration/citizenship will be dropped and the refugees will not have to face the legal proceedings any longer.
- There is also a provision in the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 that if an applicant is availing any kinds of rights and privileges already, they will not be deprived of their privileges. The Bill seeks to regularise marriage, business, children etc. of the refugees following their immigration to India.
- According to Schedule 6, the bill will not be applicable on all the states of the North-East-Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur. In addition to this, Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1973, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and most areas of Nagaland and Manipur, the provision will not be applicable.
Enumerating these 6 benefits that the persecuted minorities will get in India after getting citizenship under the citizenship amendment bill, Amit Shah spoke about how this is righting a historical wrong and how it is set to benefits several such people who have been persecuted in neighbouring Islamic nations.