New Delhi: As nationwide protests are going on against the amendment to the Citizenship Act and several petitions have been submitted to the Supreme Court challenging the amendment, the Union home ministry has been issuing several clarifications explaining why there is nothing to be scared of in this amendment.
The amendment grants Indian citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists fleeing neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the face of religious persecution. Protests erupted over religion-based citizenship criteria though the MHA clarified that it was not against any religion. As questions were raised as to why Tamils from Sri Lanka have not been considered for the citizenship, MHA said that 4.6 lakh Tamils were given Indian citizenship between 1964 and 2008.
In a Twitter thread, MHA has said this:
“Citizenship of India can be acquired by birth, descent, registration, naturalisation or incorporation of territory. Any foreigner on becoming eligible can acquire citizenship by registration or by naturalisation irrespective of his country or community. #CAA2019 enables foreigners of 6 minority communities from 3 countries to apply for citizenship on the basis of religious persecution. It does NOT amend any existing legal provision which enables any foreigner to apply for Indian citizenship through registration/naturalisation. The CAA does NOT apply to Indian citizens. They are completely unaffected by it. In the last 6 years, 2830 Pakistani, 912 Afghani & 172 Bangladeshi citizens have been given Indian citizenship. Many of them are from majority community of these countries. Such migrants of the majority community of neighbouring countries shall continue to get Indian citizenship if they fulfil the eligibility conditions already provided in the law for registration or naturalisation. On different occasions, special provisions have been made by Government in the past to accommodate the citizenship of foreigners who had to flee to India. E.g. 4.61 lakh Tamils of Indian origin were given Indian citizenship during 1964-2008. The CAA does not target any religious community from abroad.
It only provides a mechanism for some migrants who may otherwise have been called “illegal” depriving them of opportunity to apply for Indian citizenship provided they meet certain conditions. #CAA2019 protects the interests of the tribals & indigenous people of North East by excluding areas under 6th Schedule and areas covered by Inner Line Permit. Therefore, there is no question of any influx of foreigners swamping the indigenous population.”