Citizenship Amendment Bill: All You Need to Know about CAB?

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In view of the heat, the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) generated yesterday following its approval in Rajyasabha yesterday, MaaHyderabad wish to take look into the contentious issues in the bill as follows:

What is the CAB?

CAB – Citizenship Amendment Bill

What is it proposes?

The bill proposes to grant citizenship to minority Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhist and Parsis who have migrated to India after facing persecution on the ground of religion in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

How many refugees will benefit? 

Hindus – 25,447, Sikhs – 5,807, Christians 55, Buddhists – 2, and Parsis – 2 aggregating to a total of 31,313 refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014.

What if Citizenship is granted?

They will be treated as legal citizens like any other normal citizen of this country. They can enjoy all sorts of rights such as travel anywhere, study anything, do any work, any business, procure properties etc. All legal proceedings against them in respect of their illegal migration or citizenship will be closed.

Is the CAP applicable to Pan India?

No. The Bill is not applicable to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura, as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. These tribal areas include Karbi Anglong (in Assam), Garo Hills (in Meghalaya), Chakma District (in Mizoram), and Tripura Tribal Areas District. It will also not apply to the areas under the Inner Line” under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

Why only non-Muslims from these countries?

Since Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are religion-based Islamic countries, Muslims will obviously be in majority. Hence, religious persecution will not be there against them as they belong to the majority community in their own land.

Why should non-Muslims be allowed?

Because they have no other country to go as majority of them are Hindus. Moreover, they originally belong to this country prior to the bifurcation in 1947.

What about Muslim immigrants already in India?

The government argues that over One Crore Muslim refugees are already living in India since the bifurcation of Bengal. No government had objected to them so far. We have allowed them. There was a large scale migration of Muslims in the recent past from other countries especially after 2014.

Still, the Modi government had given citizenship to 563 Muslim refugees from these 3 countries in the last 5 years. As for the existing Muslim refugees are concerned, If they are found to be illegal, then the law will take its own course.

Does it mean a Witch-Hunt against Muslims in India?

How? The bill is aimed at giving citizenship to specific communities but not to snatch away citizenships of anyone. The CAB is not NRC?

What is NRC and How it is different from the CAB?

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register maintained by the Government of India containing names & certain relevant information for identification of Indian citizens of the Assam state. The register was initially and specifically made for Assam state. However, on November 20, 2019, Home Minister Amit Shah declared during a parliamentary session that the register would be extended to the entire country. The register was first prepared after the 1951 Census of India and since then it has not been updated until recently.

Whereas the Citizenship Act of 1955 says that an illegal immigrant cannot get citizenship in India. An illegal migrant is defined as people who either entered the country without proper documents or stayed on beyond the permitted time. In 2015, the government made changes to the passport and foreigner’s acts to allow non-Muslim refugees from these countries to stay back in India even if they entered the country without valid papers.

What is the difference between Illegal Immigrant and Refugee?

Illegal immigration refers to the migration of people into a country in violation of the immigration laws of that country, or the continued residence of people without the legal right to live in that country.

A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely. Such a person may be called an asylum seeker until granted refugee status by the contracting state or the UNHCR if they formally make a claim for asylum.