NRC: Citizenship amendment bill to benefit only non-Muslims?

NEW DELHI: The controversial citizenship amendment bill, attempting to give citizenship to some minorities from neighbouring countries. The bill seeks to grant citizenship to the persecuted non-Muslim immigrants of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated to India till December 31, 2014.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to illegal migrants, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction.

The BJP administration trying to bring legislation that will benefit Hindu and other minorities who have had to leave Bangladesh for reasons other than financial needs.

The bill is intended to offer relief to minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists who have had to leave their countries of origin due to discrimination.

Assam has accepted the immigrants who migrated to the state before March 24, 1971, as per the historic Assam Accord which the All Assam Students’ Union had signed with the Rajiv Gandhi government at the Centre in 1985 at the end of six-year-long Assam Agitation

The bill would potentially benefit some individuals who arrived after the date and who do not qualify for inclusion in the National Register of Citizens currently being organised in Assam under the Supreme Court’s supervision.

A meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the citizenship amendment bill saw several members moving amendments. Bhartruhari Mahtab, the BJD (Biju Janata Dal) leader proposed that the bill drop the reference to Bangladesh while adding Sri Lanka as a country whose minorities could avail Indian citizenship.

The BJP had earlier promised to grant citizenship to Hindus persecuted in the neighbouring countries during the 2014 General Election. In the party’s election manifesto, the BJP had promised to welcome Hindu refugees and give shelter to them.