Amidst Protests And Agitation, Citizenship Bill Gets A Nod From The President Of India

One of the most controversial bills ever presented in the Indian Parliament, The Citizenship Amendment Bill, gets the stature of law, after a nod from the President of India.

According to an official notification, the law will be effective after its publication in the official gazette. On Thursday 12th December 2019, after a long session of debate and discussion, the bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament. It aims at providing citizenship, to those who had sought refuge in India, because of religious and ethnic persecution, or other atrocities, in their countries of origin.

The Act will legalise the citizenship of those people from Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian communities, who came to India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, on or before December 31, 2014. Further, the Act nullifies the 1955 Citizen Act, under which, a person was labelled as an ‘ illegal immigrant’, if she or he has entered the Indian territory, without any legal documentation. As per the new Act, persecuted refugees will be declared as national citizens, if they belong to any of the above-mentioned religions; excluding Muslims.

As the bill passed in both houses with a majority, massive incidents of violence and protests broke out in the northeastern states of India; the belt that was in staunch opposition to the bill, as it can significantly redistribute the demographic structure of those states, that have maximum undocumented infiltrations.

Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Hundreds of protestors were arrested in Assam.

The Army was also deployed to disperse protestors, with potential modes of communication being shut down.

Now, it will be very important to watch what implication this move has on the ongoing protests. Also, if the whole thing is connected to NRC, as many suggest, the fear of violation of basic rights of Muslim citizens could become a reality. The law will not be applicable to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, and in the areas covered under The Inner Line, notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below