Sunday, January 17, 2021

No Place For Muslims – Islamic Politicians Take A Dig At Indian Citizenship Bill

Daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has expressed displeasure over the cabinet’s seal on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Sana Mufti wrote on Mehbooba’s Twitter page – India – not a country of Muslims.

Mehbooba has been kept in custody ever since the decision to remove Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir. The Citizenship Amendment Bill has been approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday. This bill can be introduced in the Lok Sabha next week.

The bill provides for Indian citizenship to people from Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsi and Christian communities who have come to India for asylum from neighbouring countries.

Earlier, AIMIM leader and Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi has said “Citizenship Amendment Bill” will make India like Israel which is known for “discrimination”.

Owaisi told news agency ANI, “The Citizenship Amendment Bill shows that they want to make India a strong country. India will come under the purview of countries like Israel, which is the most discriminatory country in the world.”

Owaisi also said that this law violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution because citizenship will be based on it. The bill has been approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday and it is likely that it will be introduced in Parliament next week.

The bill provides Indian citizenship to people from Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsi and Christian communities who have come to India for asylum from the neighbouring countries.

What is the Indian Citizenship Act?

Made law in 1955, eight years after India’s independence from the British, the Indian Citizenship Act is the basis by which citizenship was extended to Indians from all the states. This also made their earlier Commonwealth citizen status or British citizen status void, bringing the Indian people together under one citizenship umbrella.

The act has provisions to determine various kinds of citizenship including that by birth, by registration, by naturalisation or by descent.

This act is the one where a revision is being recommended. The clause that is being altered is the one that defines illegal migrants and their ability to apply for citizenship by naturalisation. The citizenship by naturalisation clause currently allows resident immigrants to get citizenship if they have lived in the country for more than 11 years – along with other terms and conditions.

What is the Amendment Bill?

The bill, if passed, would change a key part in the category for illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan – Muslim-majority regions that were once part of the undivided India as defined in the Government of India act 1935.

The amendment recommends granting nationality to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Jains and Parsis fleeing persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan – even without any legitimate documentation.

The bill also proposes to relax the 11-year requirement of residing in India to at least 6 years for the above migrants to India under the citizenship by naturalisation clause. However, the amendment has explicitly excluded Muslims in this category.

The Indian government stated that the reason why Muslims are not included because they are able to take refuge in Islamic nations across the globe. The reasoning is that non-Muslim minorities in these nations (Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan) are susceptive to religious persecution.

Senior minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters on Wednesday that the legislation would follow the principles of “natural justice” and is “not against anyone”.

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