CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT AND NRC: SSB Lecturette Topic
CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT AND NRC: The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) amends the status of illegal migrants in India. This is particularly beneficial for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who are living in the country without any valid documents. All such immigrants, who have faced religious persecution in their native countries and later migrated to India by December 2014, will be granted Indian citizenship. Earlier, immigrants belonging to these three countries and six religions were mandated to remain in India for at least 11 years before being approved for Indian citizenship. Now, the law has been amended so that the period of residence is only 5 years.
APPLICABILITY OF CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT
The CAA does not apply to those areas which fall under the sixth schedule of the constitution, i.e., the tribal areas of Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, in states like Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland, the inner permit regime is also excluded from the act.
CRITICISM OF CAA BY OPPOSITION PARTIES
India’s major opposition parties highlighted that the law is discriminatory as Muslims are not included in the list of immigrant communities that may benefit from the Act. The opposition indicated that Muslims constitute around 15% of the Indian population, and the act excludes immigrants from that community. Therefore, it was criticized for being uneven. The Indian government clarified that Muslims were not persecuted in the Islamic countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The government said that the Act specifically provides relief to persecuted minorities. Therefore, Muslims were not included in the list of beneficiaries. After partition people belonging to different religions have been residents of these three countries and also terrorized due to religious enmity. His right to practice and propagate the religion of his choice has been doomed for years. Such oppressed communities have taken refuge in India for a very long time. The government is seeking relief through CAA.
The government can also examine applications from other communities and assess the validity of these requests on a case by case basis.
CRITICISM OF THE ACT BY THE CITIZENS OF INDIA
Various political parties have opposed the act and stated that the proposal confers citizenship on the basis of religion. Indian citizens (especially students) have also resorted to protests across the country. Protests in Meghalaya, Assam, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur have attracted media attention. The protestors of these states are of the opinion that these illegal immigrants would be a burden to the resources of these states and would also jeopardize employment opportunities for the existing citizens. He has also stated that the Act is not in conformity with the Assam Accord of 1985 which states the cut-off date of deportation of all illegal migrants who have entered India illegally on 24 March 1971.
In my views, the CAA is that it violates article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees equality to all individuals, it is the basic structure of the constitution. It was a good move by the government to curb illegal immigration but should have been done following constitutional measures.