The Modi government is set to table the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, a key BJP plank which is aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries, in Parliament's Winter Session starting from Monday. The government has listed the bill in its items of business for the session, official sources told news agency Press Trust of India.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure as well but could not push it through due to vehement protests by opposition parties, which criticised the bill as discriminatory on religious grounds. The bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha.
The legislation seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan if they have fled their respective country due to religious persecution. There has been opposition to the bill in Assam and other northeastern states.
Student organisations, political parties and socio-cultural bodies have been protesting on the grounds that it seeks to grant nationality to non-Muslims, mostly Hindus, who have come into India up to December 31, 2014, thereby increasing the deadline from 1971 as per the Assam Accord. The BJP has insisted that minorities, of whom Hindus are in overwhelming numbers, from these countries should be granted Indian citizenship.