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Three North Eastern States protest against Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016

Three North Eastern States protest against Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016

Why in News: A Joint Parliamentary committee visited Assam to review the work done.

Questions: Equality under Article 14 of Indian Constitution

Introduction

Lending support to the voices of dissent over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, hundreds of student activists staged demonstrations on Monday across three northeast states.

The apex bodies of students' unions in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland organised sit-ins this morning in their respective state capitals, demanding immediate scrapping of the proposed legislation.

The protesters also submitted memoranda to the governors in their states, seeking their intervention in the matter.

What is Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016?

The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.

It also seeks to include one more ground of cancellation for Overseas Citizen of India (O.C.I). If they violate any law.

One of the requirements for citizenship by naturalization 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 this 11-year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the same six religions of three countries.

Reason of Controversy

The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. It may violate Equality under article -14. Article 14 guarantees equality to all persons, citizens and foreigners. It only permits laws to differentiate between groups of people if the rationale for doing so serves a reasonable purpose

Violation of any law as the ground of cancellation for O.C.I. is a wide ground that may cover a wide grounds including minor offences (eg. parking in a no parking zone).

It includes Chakma issue. The Chakmas, a majority of whom are Buddhists, settled down in Arunachal Pradesh after having fled religious persecution in the Chittagong Hill Tract of Bangladesh 50 years ago.

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