12th Dec. 2019
In India, The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to give eligibility for Indian citizenship to illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and who entered India on or before 31 December 2014. The bill does not include Muslims.
The passage of the bill caused protests in India. Internet was shut down in the north-eastern state of Assam and curfew declared in Assam and Tripura due to huge protests. However, the army had to be called in to deploy as protestors defied those curfews. Railway services were also suspended.
The main opposition to Bill is that it is against secular constitution of India. The Preamble serves as an introduction to the Constitution. The Preamble was amended by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976, which determined to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, and Democratic republic. It secures justice, liberty, equality to all the citizens of India and promotes fraternity among the people. The term secular in the Constitution of India means that all the religions in India get equal respect, protection and support from the State. Articles 25 to 28 in Part III of the Constitution guarantee Freedom of Religion as a Fundamental Right.
In my view the bill does not violate the Constitution of India as these provisions are applicable to citizen of India and not for those who have yet to become citizen.
The illegal migrants from Bangladesh who are Muslim, living in border states of India are protecting most as they are likely to be deported and are not included in National Citizenship Register after their illegal entry in India since long ago.
The National Register of Citizens is a register maintained by the Government of India containing identification of Indian citizens of the Assam state. The register was initially, specifically made for Assam state of India. The register was first prepared after the 1951 Census of India and since then it has not been updated until recently. The process of updating of state's part of NRC in the state of Assam started in the year 2013 when the Supreme Court of India passed an order for its updating. Since then, the Supreme Court of India has been monitoring it continuously. This has created crisis of identity of citizenship in Assam.
The bill was also criticized by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. USCIRF is a U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This is contradictory to the 2019 USCIRF report, the chairman Tenzin Dorjee disagreed with the commission's designation of India as a CPC citing having lived in India for 30 years as a religious refugee stating that "India is an open society with a robust democratic and judiciary system. India is a great civilization, and since ancient times she has been a country of multifaith, multilingual, and multicultural / diversity.
United State of America is also struggling with problem of illegal migration and so far not able to resolve this problem and taking small steps like erecting walls on border; Deferred Action. USA has not taken any legislative step to grant citizenship to illegal migrant or identify such illegal migrants in Census of 2020 as Court did not allow question on citizenship in US Census of 2020.