Why the Citizenship Amendment Bill has created lot of unrest in Assam?

The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 has met with lot of resistance in Assam which is facing the crisis of illegal migrants. The state of Assam is facing lot of unrest as the bill proposes granting citizenship to a section of illegal migrants.

Controversial Features of the bill:

The citizenship amendment bill 2016 aims to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. The controversial features of the bill are:

  • The bill allows the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan to apply for Indian citizenship.
  • The bill relaxes the 11-year cutoff to six years out of 14, for immigrants of the six religions from the three countries.

Why mixed response in Assam:

  • Opponents feel the Bill will aggravate the problem of illegal migration.
  • The opponents also argue that the Bill goes against the 1985 Assam Accord signed between the Rajiv Gandhi government and leaders of the Assam movement spearheaded by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) against illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
  • The opponents also fear that the bill undermines the NRC and would give an opportunity to lakhs of illegal migrants to avail the citizenship.
  • The opponents also claim that the bill will not stand the legal scrutiny as it violates the Article 14 of the constitution which states that there can be no discrimination between two religious groups.
  • The bill is also said to be in contravention with the much thought citizenship act of 1955 which prohibits the people of undivided India from acquiring citizenship in India.
  • Those in favor propose that the bill would give an opportunity to the “Partition victims” who have been displaced and persecuted.

Assam is on the tipping point again due to the controversial provisions of the bill. Much thought must be given before going ahead with the bill as it would adversely affect the peace in the north east especially Assam.


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