The Citizenship Amendment Bill got Parliament’s stamp of approval after the Rajya Sabha’s go ahead on Wednesday night.
The law will give citizenship to refugees of 6 minority communities – hindus, sikhs, buddhists, jains, christians & parsis – from Pakistan, Afghanistan & Bangladesh if they came to India because of religious persecution before the 31st of December, 2014.
But the legislation is facing opposition in parts of North-East India. The govt has made it amply clear in Parliament that it is committed to safeguarding the interests of the North-East people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated the govt’s stand the next day saying there will be no impact on the culture, lifestyle & language of the North-East people because of CAB & their interests will not be harmed.
The PM gave an assurance at an election rally in Jharkhand while taking aim at the rival Congress charging it of spreading falsehoods on the issue & fueling unrest in the region.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also given similar clarifications & assurances on the CAB in both houses of Parliament during the discussion on the Bill.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal also put out a message to the people of the state reassuring them about their future. He also appealed to them to eschew violence and maintain peace.
Contrary to this, the situation is completely peaceful in Assam’s Barak valley and people were seen going about their daily business in an everday manner. The situation is also normal in Sikkim and other North-Eastern states.
The External Affairs Ministry also put across it’s stand on the issue which is being conveyed through diplomatic channels to other nations as well apart from clearning the air about Bangladesh foreign minister’s visit.
Even as protests continue in some parts of the North East, the Modi government continues its efforts to assuage all fears. A delegation from Tripura of joint movement against Citizenship Amendment Bill met Union Home Minister Amit Shah & discussed concerns over Citizenship Amendment Bill. After detailed discussions and assurances from him they called off the strike in the state.
While there are some protests in parts of the North East, elsewhere across the country celebrations continue among those who will benefit from the Amendments.
The issue of Citizenship amendment bill was raised in Parliament as well. Congress brought up the fall out of the Bill in the North East. The government responded by accusing the opposition parties in the region of spreading false propoganda to fuel protests.
Parliamentarians from the North east expressed satisfaction with the amendment and appealed for calm.
On another front, India has denied reports connecting Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen cancelling his visit to India with the passage of the Citizenship amendment Bill.
MEA also said that they have reached out to members of US Congress and other stakeholders on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and are hopeful that they will understand India’s position. Reacting to Pak PM Imran Khan’s comments on CAB, MEA adviced him to focus on its treatment of minorities rather than commenting on India’s internal matter.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill offers the promise of a better future to persecuted refugees from minority communities who have fled from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.