Citizenship and Related Issues

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Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Population & associated issues

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NRC, Tripura accord

Mains level: Migration problem being faced by India & its impact on demographic composition and security


Context

Proposal for NRC in Tripura

  1. The Supreme Court has tagged a petition filed by the Tripura People’s Front seeking updating of the NRC in Tripura, along with the Assam NRC case, and issued a notice to the Centre
  2. The petitioners have sought July 19, 1948, as the cut-off date in accordance with Article 6 of the Constitution
  3. Article 6 of the Constitution of India deals with Rights of citizenship of certain persons who have migrated to India from Pakistan
  4. Tripura was a princely state prior to its merger with India on October 15, 1949

Provisions of Article 6

  1. Article 6 of the Constitution implies that a migrant from erstwhile East Pakistan is deemed to be an Indian citizen if either of his or her parents or any of his or her grandparents were born in India and in the case where such a person has migrated on or after July 19, 1948, and has been resident in the territory of India since the date of his migration
  2. The migrant can also be deemed a citizen if such a person migrated on or after July 19, 1948, but has been registered as a citizen of India by an officer appointed by the Government of India

History of migrants in Tripura state

  1. Successive Census Reports and official records show how large-scale migration of people from erstwhile East Bengal and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) changed the demography of Tripura, stoking fears among various ethnic communities, the original inhabitants, about their survival
  2. They were apprehensive that their identity, language, culture and traditions were at stake
  3. The percentage of ethnic communities enlisted as Scheduled Tribes declined to 50.09 in 1941, 36.89 in 1951, to 28.95 in 1971 and 28.44 in 1981 and it was 31.78% of the total population of 36.74 lakh recorded in the 2011 Census
  4. As per Department of Rehabilitation, Ministry of Labour and Rehabilitation, Government of India, there was an influx of an estimated 5.17 lakh refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan into Tripura between 1947 and February 1971

Tripura accord

  1. The Dasarath Deb-led Left Front government in Tripura signed an accord with the erstwhile militant outfit All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF) in 1993 to send back all Bangladeshi nationals who came to the State after March 25, 1971, and were not in possession of valid documents
  2. The cut-off date for the NRC exercise will be critical to the determination of citizenship of the East Pakistan refugees besides ensuring that the demographic fault lines do not give fresh ground for insurgency and a fresh conflict between ethnic communities and the migrants

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016

  1. The bill seeks to grant citizenship to six non-Muslim minority communities in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan — Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis
  2. The governments at the Centre and in Tripura may push the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to woo the post-Partition Bengali refugees by playing upon the perceived fear among them of being reduced to non-citizens if July 19, 1948, is taken as the cut-off date

Way forward

  1. The deep demographic fault lines and the history of a bitter insurgency-ravaged past should remind both New Delhi and Agartala that mishandling of the citizenship issue may push Tripura into a protracted conflict situation that will be difficult to resolve
  2. An NRC exercise in Tripura may open a Pandora’s box as India is still undecided on the determination of citizenship status of lakhs of refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan
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Article 6 of the Constitution implies that a migrant from erstwhile East Pakistan is deemed to be an Indian citizen if either of his or her parents or any of his or her grandparents were born in India and in the case where such a person has migrated on or after July 19, 1948, and has been resident in the territory of India since the date of his migration .
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Correction :
has migrated on or before July 19, 1948