The government on Wednesday approved the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which will be introduced in Parliament during the ongoing winter session.
The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to facilitate granting citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, who came to India on or before December 31, 2014. It is intended to give relief to six minority communities, who faced religious persecution in their countries.
Briefing media after the meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “The Citizenship Amendment Bill has been given clearance and will be discussed once it is tabled in Parliament.”
When asked if the concerns of the north-eastern state have been taken care of in the approved bill, Javadekar said, “Let the bill first come in Parliament for discussion and passage, everybody will be happy, as it not only protects the interest of individuals and groups but also the interest of India.”
On Tuesday, Union home minister Amit Shah had met various stakeholders from the north-eastern states to understand their concerns over the proposed law.
The Bill aims to provide citizenship to those who had been forced to seek shelter in India because of religious persecution or fear of persecution in their home countries, primarily Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The Bill, however, is expected to face stiff resistance from Opposition parties in Parliament and members in Rajya Sabha may push for referring it to a select committee before it is discussed in the Upper House.