Citizen amendment bill (2016) seeks to ease norms for religious minorities from neighbouring countries (non-Muslims) to get Indian citizenship. But it has polarised regions in borders states like Assam as the locals fear a demographic change might be ushered due to immigration.
- Citizenship Act, 1955 allows an immigrant to apply for citizenship if he/she has lived in India for 12 months immediately before applying.
- Additionally, the applicant should‘ve also resided in India for 11 of the last 14 years before the date of application.
- In 2016, an amendment bill was introduced, for relaxing the 11-year cutoff to 6 years out of 14 for immigrants of the 6 religious faiths.
- It is for enabling ―Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis& Christians‖ from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan to apply for Indian citizenship. In other words, the amendment seeks to make non-Muslim illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries eligible for Indian citizenship.
- Also, the government passed two notifications for exempting such immigrants from the Foreigners Act 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920.
- Notably, this meant that they can‘t be deported – thereby enabling them to continue living in India (provided that they had arrived before 2015).