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Why People of Assam and Northeast Against CAB, 2016?


picture credit- Pratidin time

What is the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016?

The Citizenship Amendment Bill was proposed in Lok Sabha on July 19, amending the Citizenship Act of 1955. If this Bill is passed in Parliament, illegal migrants from certain minority communities coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan will then be eligible for Indian citizenship. 

In short, illegal migrants belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian religious communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Pakistan would not be imprisoned or deported. 

Moreover, these citizens gain permanent citizenship after six years of residency in India instead of 11 years -- as mentioned in the Citizenship Act (1955). The registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may get canceled if they violate any law.

What does the Bill aim for?

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the government plans to change the definition of illegal migrants. The Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to illegal migrants, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction. 

However, the Act doesn’t have a provision for Muslim sects like Shias and Ahmediyas who also face persecution in Pakistan. The Bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalization.

Why Assam and north-eastern states opposing the Bill?

BJP's coalition partner Assam Gana Parishad has threatened to cut ties with the party if the Bill is passed. It considers the Bill to work against the cultural and linguistic identity of the indigenous people of the State. 

NGOs such as The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and students' organization All Assam Students’ Union also have come forward opposing the Bill. All Opposition parties, including the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front has opposed the idea of granting citizenship to an individual on the basis of religion. 

It is also argued that the Bill if made into an Act, will nullify the updated National Registration of Citizenship (NRC). The process of updating the NRC is currently underway in Assam. Accept all the parties and non-political organization, the general civilian of the state also opposing the bill. 

Assam fighting against the illegal migrations is not recent it has a long history which led to the ‘Assam accord’. The Assam Accord (1985) was a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement in New Delhi on 15 August 1985. 

A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in 1979. It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord. The accord brought an end to the Assam Movement and paved the way for the leaders of the agitation to form a political party and form a government in the state of Assam soon after. 

Though the accord brought an end to the agitation, some of the key clauses are yet to be implemented, which has kept some of the issues festering. The main fear of this bill to the general people is if the bill becomes an act the real inhabitant of the state with the Assamese and all the major tribes become minority in the future. 

This scenario was already seen by the people of seven sisters in the case of Tripura.  This bill also going to affect other northeast states. Therefore, all the northeast state combined opposing this bill.

Sources:

https://www.pratidintime.com/

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