The Parliament’s 2019 Winter session is said to be focused on the Citizenship amendment bill which is a key plank of the BJP. The bill aims at granting citizenship to non-muslims immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan that entered India before December 31, 2014.
The Citizenship Amendment bill is a prerequisite for BJP before it moves forward on the nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC). the NCR was set aside after the 2019 general elections as it received strong criticism from the Northeastern states.
Now that the BJP has an even bigger mandate in the Lok Sabha and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat persisting on the passing of the NCR across the nation, the government is ready for the discussion its discussion in the Lok Sabha.
What is the Citizen (Amendment) bill?
The bill intends to make it easier for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians being persecuted based on their religion to become Indian citizens. The bill highlights the exclusion of Muslim immigrants.
The 1995 Citizenship Act requires the applicants to have resided in India for at least 11 of the previous 14 years. The amendment bill aims to reduce the number of years to 6 to 11 years for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from the three nations.
How is NCR linked to Citizenship Amendment Bill?
The NCR was first implemented in Assam as ordered by the Supreme Court, which was also a long-awaited demand from Assam. Soon after the implementation in Assam,
On Amit Shah, the current Home Minister pitched for the NCR to be applied nationwide in his election rallies. In October itself, Shah started talking about the extension of the bill in West Bengal. He had said: "We had brought the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha, but the TMC MPs did not allow the Upper House to function. They did not allow the bill to be passed, and due to this, there are people in our country who are yet to get the Indian citizenship."
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar also promised the NCR during his election rallies. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has been demanding the NCR since long.
However, after the updated final NRC in Assam was released on August 31, it led to the exclusion of 19 lakh names among which many were Hindus.
Odds against the Citizen Amendment Bill
The opposition has already raised their voice against the bill, the opposition has said that they will oppose against the bill once put to vote. Many Bangladeshi immigrants might have to be resettled in Northeastern states which is another concern for the Northeastern citizens a sit will create a conflict with their ethnic uniqueness.
In the run-up to the 2019 General Election, almost the whole of Northeast, which is mostly ruled by the BJP or ND, protested against the bill. Following which revamped bill is set to be passed which will address the Northeastern concerns and protect "protect" the indigenous people of the Northeast.
Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh said during a media interaction in October, "We trust and have confidence that central leaders will be there to protect the indigenous people of the Northeastern region".
With a large mandate in both the parliament houses, the passing of the bill is a high-possibility.