Indian Parliament Okays Bill to Grant Non-Muslim Immigrants Citizens

Muslim Youth

The lower House of Indian parliament or Lok Sabha Tuesday passed a proposed law to give citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, officials said.

“Lok Sabha today passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants eligible for citizenship,” an official said. “The illegal migrants include Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. “Under the 1955 Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years. The Bill relaxes the 11-year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the all the six religions from the three countries,” the official said.

The bill was passed amid vigorous opposition by several opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left Front. Most parties from the northeast, even those that were allies of the BJP, have also strongly opposed Bill. On Monday Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), a regional ally of ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in India’s northeastern state of Assam ended their alliance and walked out the BJP-led coalition over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. Political parties and the civil society in Assam opposing the proposed law said it would allow citizenship to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh.

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