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The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in Lok Sabha. The protests have erupted in Assam against the passage of the bill. The people of Assam fear that the amendment bill undermines the Assam Accord of 1985.
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 seeks to amend the citizenship Act, 1955. The features of the amendment bill are:
- The bill aims to grant Indian citizenship to all persecuted religious minorities like Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis from three neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- The bill is applicable to all states and union territories of the country and the beneficiaries of the can reside in any part of the country.
- The bill when passed would provide a big relief to the persecuted migrants who have come through western borders of the country to States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and other states.
As per the reports, the government would set the cut off date at December 31, 2014, to provide citizenship to persecuted religious minorities.
Addressing the concerns against the Bill
The Union Home Minister provided the following assurance to allay fears about the bill:
- The burden of the persecuted migrants will be shared by the entire country and not by Assam alone.
- The Union Home Minister also assured full support for the state governments in the implementation of the bill.
Protestors led by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) in Assam have imposed an economic blockade and have said that they would not allow locally produced oil, petroleum products, coal, forest products and limestone to be taken out of the state.
Tags: Afghanistan • Assam Accord • Bangladesh • Buddhists • Christians • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 • Citizenship Act 1955 • Hindus • Jains • Pakistan • Parsis • persecuted religious minorities • Sikhs
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has set up three member committee to study the matter to give minority status to Hindus in 8 states where their population is less than 50%.
The committee will be led by NCM’s Vice Chairman George Kurien and has been given three months to submit its report. NCM after examining the report will take a view over the issue.
The NCM’s decision is based on plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwini Upadhyaya, whose petition on matter to grant minority status to Hindus in eight states was rejected by Supreme Court in November 2017. The apex court had directed him to approach the NCM.
According to 2011 Census, Hindus are in monitory in eight states — Lakshadweep (2.5%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), J&K (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%), and Punjab (38.40%). It is argued that in absence of “minority” status to Hindus in these states, benefits meant for minority communities were being given away to majority community in illegal and arbitrary manner.
National Commission for Minorities (NCM)
NCM is statutory body set up under National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. It works under the Ministry of Minority Affairs. Its mandate is to evaluate progress of development of Minorities.
It also monitors working of safeguards provided in Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and State Legislatures. It also makes recommendations for effective implementation of safeguards for protection of interests of Minorities by the Central Government or State Governments. It looks into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of minorities and take up such matters with the appropriate authorities.
Constitution of India has not defined word ‘Minority’ and only refers to ‘Minorities’ but it speaks of those ‘based on religion or language’ and rights of minorities have been spelt out in Constitution in detail. Six religious communities, viz. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by Union Government all over India.