Centre addresses fears on Citizenship Bill

Background: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, Citizenship Act 1955.

  • Under pressure from parliamentarians who objected to the NDA government’s move to grant citizenship to migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh on religious grounds, the Home Ministry has decided to add the nomenclature discriminated to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 that was introduced in the Lok Sabha in July.
  • The Bill that seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 is being examined by a joint parliamentary panel.
  • A senior Home Ministry official said it planned to replace the term religious minorities with discriminated religious minorities after parliamentarians criticised the plan to allow all religious communities into India, except Muslims.
  • With this proposed amendment, the govt plans to change the definition of illegal migrants that will enable it to grant citizenship to minorities, mostly Hindus from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who fled their country fearing persecution.
  • Muslim sects like Shias also face persecution in Pakistan but the Act doesn’t have provision for them.

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