From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NA
Mains level : CAA
Bangladesh Information Minister has said that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) framed to grant Indian citizenship to minorities of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan was an “internal matter” of India.
What is Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019?
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) is an act that was passed in the Parliament on December 11, 2019.
- The 2019 CAA amended the Citizenship Act of 1955 allowing Indian citizenship for religious minorities who fled from the neighboring Muslim majority countries before December 2014 due to “religious persecution or fear of religious persecution”.
- However, the Act excludes Muslims.
- Under CAA, migrants who entered India by December 31, 2014, and had suffered “religious persecution or fear of religious persecution” in their country of origin, were made eligible for citizenship by the new law.
- These type of migrants will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years.
- The amendment also relaxed the residence requirement for naturalization of these migrants from eleven years to five.
Key feature: Defining illegal migrants
- Illegal migrants cannot become Indian citizens in accordance with the present laws.
- Under the CAA, an illegal migrant is a foreigner who: (i) enters the country without valid travel documents like a passport and visa, or (ii) enters with valid documents, but stays beyond the permitted time period.
- Illegal migrants may be put in jail or deported under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920.
- The Bill provides that illegal migrants who fulfil four conditions will not be treated as illegal migrants under the Act. The conditions are:
- They are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians;
- They are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan;
- They entered India on or before December 31, 2014;
- They are not in certain tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, or areas under the “Inner Line” permit, i.e., Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
Controversy with the Act
- Country of Origin: The Act classifies migrants based on their country of origin to include only Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- Other religious minorities ignored: It is unclear why illegal migrants from only six specified religious minorities have been included in the Act.
- Defiance of purpose: India shares a border with Myanmar, which has had a history of persecution of a religious minority, the Rohingya Muslims.
- Date of Entry: It is also unclear why there is a differential treatment of migrants based on their date of entry into India, i.e., whether they entered India before or after December 31, 2014.
Why discuss this?
- The CAA became a huge cause of concern between India and Bangladesh when it was passed by the Parliament in December 2019, with Dhaka seeking a written assurance from India.
- Dhaka, then was irked by the remarks about religious persecution of minority Hindus in Bangladesh.