AGP, BJP strike bill consensus

  1. Asom Gana Parishad and BJP have decided not to talk on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, while campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 in Assam
  2. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955. Legal provisions relating to acquisition and termination of citizenship of India are contained in the Citizenship Act, 1955
  3. The bill seeks to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for Indian citizenship. The Bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalisation.
  4. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in January 2019.  However, the bill lapsed as it could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha.
  5. The bill has been highly criticised on the following grounds: a) Violation of Article 14 (equality before the law) as it seeks to grant citizenships to illegal migrants on the basis of religion, b) against basic structure of the Constitution as it undermines secularism, c) would undermine the rights of indigenous Assamese people as it violates the Assam accord.
  6. Assam Accord is a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement- a movement against illegal immigrants in Assam.