New Delhi: A day before the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is set to face the Rajya Sabha test on Wednesday, the government tried to clear the air by busting what it calls “myth” about the Bill.
In a series of tweets posted through the Press Bureau of India (PIB), the government clarified the perception that CAB would give citizenship to Bengali Hindus was wrong.
In fact, it says, “the CAB doesn’t automatically confer citizenship to Bengali Hindus. It’s just an enabling legislation for persons belonging to six minority communities.”
The government said the perception that the Bill diluted Assam Accord was a lie. The Assam Accord (1985) was a memorandum of settlement (MoS), signed between representatives of the central government and the leaders of the Assam movement in New Delhi on August 15, 1985, ending a six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal foreign (Bangladeshi) immigrants.
“The CAB doesn’t dilute the sanctity of the Assam Accord as far as the cut-off date March 24, 1971, stipulated for detection/deportation of illegal immigrants is concerned,” it said.
The Narendra Modi government also clarified that the Bill, that has become a political hot potato, was against the interests of indegenous people of Assam. The PIB in its tweets said, the CAB was not Assam-centric and was not against the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
on the ‘myth’ that the Bill will lead to domination of Bengalis, the government said, “Most of them are settled in the Barak Valley in Assam, away from the tribal belts and blocks”.
The CAB was not applicable in areas where provisions of inner-line permit and Sixth Schedule to Constitution applied. This fact was first reported by IANS.
The perception that Bengali Hindus will become a burden for Assam and trigger fresh Hindu migrations from Bangladesh or the CAB is a “ploy” to grab tribal lands and several other concerns have also been sought to be addressed by the government.
On the concern — raised by opposition parties and also a US panel — that the Bill is discriminatory against Muslims, the government said, “Any foreigner from any religion from any country can apply for Indian citizenship if he/she is eligible to do so as per the existing provisions of the Citizenships Act, 1955. The CAB doesn’t change these provisions at all.”
The CAB, which seeks to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, has attracted cold vibes from opposition with the Congress calling it “unconstitutional”.
The NDA government had introduced the Bill in its previous tenure and got the Lok Sabha approval. But it couldn’t be passed the Rajya Sabha test due to vehement protests.