Guwahati: As many as 70 organisations in Assam were carrying out a protest in front of the Janata Bhawan against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, on Friday. (Also read: BJP Rath Yatras to Garner Support For Citizen (Amendment) Bill)
The proposed amendment to the Citizenship Bill, 1955, seeks to grant citizenship to people from minority communities, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 even if they don’t possess proper documents.
A large section of people and organisations in the Northeast have been opposing the bill.
Meanwhile, a joint parliamentary committee, which is examining the bill seeking to amend the six-decade-old Citizenship Act, is set to table its report in the Winter session of Parliament in December.
“The Winter session is practically the last session of this House. If we do not submit our report, it means we have not done our work properly. Besides the committee will also lapse,” chairman of the multi-party committee and BJP MP from Meerut, Rajendra Agrawal, said.
Agrawal, however, made it clear that a final decision on tabling the report of the committee will be decided by its members soon. “The committee will decide when to submit the report,” he said.
The Meghalaya and Mizoram governments have strongly opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill and adopted resolutions against it. “We understand there are concerns among some people. Many of the organisations have met us. We are open for further discussions in the coming days,” Agrawal said when asked whether the committee members will again visit Assam, where the bill is receiving maximum opposition.
The committee has already taken six extensions from the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. It has sought time for the presentation of the report on the “first day of the last week of the Winter Session, 2018”.
The committee has met a cross-section of people in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam and Meghalaya and heard views of organisations, individuals, experts and others. The committee also heard the views of the chief secretaries and police chiefs of Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and West Bengal.