A section of the participants in a meeting called by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in New Delhi on Tuesday mooted deletion of the word “Bangladesh” from the Bill and exclusion of “North East” from its purview.
This implies that persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh will not be accepted as Indian citizens while those from Pakistan and Afghanistan who get Indian citizenship will not be settled in the North East.
A report published in the The Telegraph stated that the amendment Bill proposes to grant Indian citizenship to people of the six communities who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India till December 31, 2014.
The report further stated that the meeting was called to take the opinions of the officials of the Union ministries of Home, External Affairs and Law and Justice on the Bill. The development assumes significance for the people of the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam, who have been opposing the Bill vehemently. A bandh called by 46 organisations (later supported by 14 more organisations) against the Bill crippled normal life in the Valley on Tuesday.
Assam is concerned more about Bangladesh with which it shares a 263 km boundary and is vulnerable to infiltration from across the border. “During the meeting it was discussed whether the word Bangladesh can be deleted from the Bill and North East kept out of its purview,” a member of the committee said.
“We asked the officials of the three ministries about their opinions on the Bill but they could not give a satisfactory reply. We have asked them to submit their written reply by October 30,” the member said. The meeting also discussed whether the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) will be able to present its report on time. It has already obtained six extensions. It is now required to submit its report on the first day of the last week of the Winter Session of Parliament.