Its an Act: President Kovind gives his assent to Citizenship Amendment Bill

Many towns and cities were placed under indefinite curfew, including Guwahati, the epicenter of agitation, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, and Dhekiajuli

New Delhi: The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, became an Act of law after President of India Ram Nath kovind gave his assent to the legislation on Thursday. An official notification, the Act comes into effect with its publication in the official gazette on Thursday. According to the Bill, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by Rajya Sabhaon Wednesday and by Lok Sabha on Monday.

The Act of law says that the refugees of the six communities will be given Indian citizenship after residing in India for five years, instead of earlier requirement of 11 years. The Act also proposes to give exemption to such refugees facing legal cases after being called as illegal migrants.

According to the legislation, it will not be applied to the tribal areas of Northeast India of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and in the areas covered under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. The ILP reign is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram.

However, a large number of people and organizations in the Northeast region, especially in Assam and Tripura, have opposed the Bill, said it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for expelling of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion. Agitation against the legislation has intensified since Monday in the Northeast. Two individuals were killed on Thursday in police firing in Assam with thousands descending on streets defying curfew even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised his government was committed to safeguarding their rights.

Many towns and cities were placed under indefinite curfew, including Guwahati, the epicenter of agitation, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, and Dhekiajuli. The official said Night curfew was imposed in Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts.

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) moved the top court challenging the CAB and said it breaches the fundamental Right to Equality of the Constitution and intends to grant citizenship to a section of illegal immigrants by banning them on the basis of religion.

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