Citizenship Application invited by the Government

The Central Government of India has invited Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Christians and Parsis from three counties- Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to apply for an Indian citizenship under the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

Several migrants from these three countries- Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have been residing in our country mostly in 13 districts of Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Punjab. In this regard, the Union Home Ministry has issued notifications to grant them citizenship and to implement this order under the Citizenship Act 1955.

The persecuted minorities from the three countries who have arrived in India before 31st December, 2014 can apply for citizenship. According to the data from Intelligence Bureau’s records, there are around 30000 immediate beneficiaries. Under this act, Muslim from the 3 countries is not eligible to apply for citizenship as the countries are Muslim majority countries.

Citizen Amendment Act 2019

  • This act was passed on 11th December, 2019 and amended the Citizenship Act, 1955.
  • Under this act provisions have been made for persecuted religious minorities from the three countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan belonging from these religions- Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Christians and Parsis, to get an Indian Citizenship.
  • This is the first law in which religion is used as a criterion for gaining citizenship in India.
  • Under this act, the residence requirement for one’s naturalization, have been reduced to 6 years from 12 years for these migrants.

Criticism

This act has faced a lot of flak for discriminating on religious grounds, for excluding Muslims.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has also called this act to be fundamentally discriminatory.

There is also a rising concern that this act will be used in tandem with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and will render the Muslims stateless.

The government has come up against the criticism by stating that since the 3 countries are Muslim countries there won’t be any persecution of Muslim in those countries.

About Ministry of Home Affairs

Minister: Amit Shah

Minister of State: G. Kishan Reddy, Nityanand Rai

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