The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan

On January 8, the Lok Sabha has passed the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 that seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It will pave way for the religious minorities –the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis — from these countries to get Indian citizenship. According to Union Home Ministry, the purpose of the bill is to provide Indian citizenship to those who had been forced to seek shelter in India because of religious persecution or fear of persecution in their home countries. The Bill provides for Indian citizenship to such immigrants after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years currently. The bill will apply to all States and Union Territories of the country and the beneficiaries of Citizenship Amendment Bill will be able to reside in any state of the country. Hence, the Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to make illegal immigrants from these countries eligible for Indian citizenship. The bill will now be tabled in the Rajya Sabha for discussion.

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