The Citizenship Amendment Act has a lot of controversy surrounding it, and a lot of questions have surfaced with respect to the act.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill or CAB, which grants Indian citizenship to the non-Muslims of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. As many as 125 lawmakers voted in the favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill and 99 against it.
Besides the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the CAB was supported by JD(U), SAD, AIADMK, BJD, TDP and YSR-Congress. The Shiv Sena did not participate in the voting. The citizenship bill was on Monday passed by the Lok Sabha with a majority of 311 votes against 80.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Citizenship Amendment Act, answered for you -
What Is The Citizenship Amendment Act?
This bill that now has become an Act makes it easier for the non-Muslim immigrants from India's three Muslim-majority neighbours — Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan — to become citizens of India. Though the Bill doesn't exclusively exclude Muslims, the fact that it entitles Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians facing religious persecution in the three nations only, to seek Indian citizenship, highlights the exclusion of Muslims clearly.
This amendment is of the Citizenship Act, 1955 which requires the applicant to have resided in India for 11 of the previous 14 years. The amendment relaxes this requirement from 11 years to six years, for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from the three nations.
Who Benefits From The Act?
The Act grants citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhist, Jains and Parsis — from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who had arrived in India before 31 December 2014.
Those belonging to these religions, coming from the three countries stand a chance to become Indian citizens, even if they don't have requisite documents. To add to that, these people will not be deported for not having the required documents.
Who Is Affected Negatively By The Act?
The Citizenship Amendment Act does not apply to tribal areas of Tripura, Mizoram, Assam and Meghalaya because of being included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Also, areas that fall under the Inner Limit (an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period), notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, will also be outside the Act's purview. This keeps almost entire Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland out of the Act.
Why Are So Many People Protesting The CAA?
In the northeast, the protest is against the Act's implementation in their areas. Most of them fear that if implemented, the Act will cause a rush of immigrants that may alter their demographic and linguistic identity entirely.
In the rest of India, like in Kerala, West Bengal and in Delhi, people are protesting against the exclusion of Muslims, alleging it to be against the ethos of the Constitution and violating the democratic values of the country.
What Does The NRC Have To Do With The CAA?
The NRC (National Register of Citizens) is a register maintained by the union government of India that effectively lists out Indian citizens in Assam, and weeds out immigrants. The register was first made for Assam, but on November 20th, home minister Amit Shah said that it would be extended to the entire country. The NRC, unlike CAA, does not base the deportation on religion.
If the implementation of NRC was to happen around the country, it would effectively end the Muslim population of India when linked with the CAA. The government wants to implement the NRC all around the country along with the Citizenship Amendment Act to entirely push out "infiltrators" and "termites" from the country. So even though there is no direct correlation between the two, the implementation of the two at the same time could filter out the Muslim population at large.