Protests over the amended Citizenship Act 2019 spread across the country with the political parties, organizations representing various ethnic communities and civilians holding demonstrations. The protestors urged the government to revoke the act. The act has been amended after six-decades.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on December 10th, 2019 while the Rajya Sabha cleared the bill on December 11th, 2019.
A total of 59 petitions were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the contentious act. The top court in a hearing on December 18th, 2019 refused to stay the implementation of the act. A Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant said the court will hear the pleas in January. The next hearing is on January 22nd, 2020.
All you need to know about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 are:
- Under the provisions of the law any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who entered into the Indian territory on or before December 31st, 2014 and has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1964, shall not be treated as illegal migrant.
- On and from the date of commencement of the act, any person referred to in the first proviso shall be eligible to apply for naturalisation and any proceeding pending against such person in respect of illegal migration or citizenship shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship to him.
- The amendments proposed in the Citizenship Act, 1955 will extend the facility of Indian citizenship to a specific class of persons who are presently facing hardships and difficulties in acquiring citizenships.
- Nothing in this section shall apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya Mizoram and Tripura as included in the VI schedule of the constitution and the areas covered by the ‘Inner Line Permit’ under the Bengal Eastern and Frontier Regulation 1873.
- The act says that the refugees will be granted citizenship after residing in India for five years instead of 11 years.
- The act will grant fast-track Indian citizenship to them in six years.
Protests over the C(A)A
- The anger over the controversial act first ruptured in the form of street protest in Assam and later spread to the national capital – Delhi and other parts of the country.
- Protests erupted across violent in Guwahati resulting in heavy damage of public properties and loss of human lives.
- Curfew imposed since December 11th, 2019 to December 17th, 2019. Educational institutions and offices remained closed.
- The government banned internet services in Assam following the massive protests. However, broadband internet services were restored o December 17th, 2019 but the mobile internet services are yet to be restored.
- All Assam Students’ Union and other organizations stage Gana Satyagraha across the state. Artistes’ fraternity and civilians also joined the satyagraha.
- AASU advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti chief Akhil Gogoi including others were detained by police.
- Public transport vehicles were set on fire and public properties were damaged during the protests. Protestors pelted stones at the security personnel for which police had to resort to baton charge and fire tear gas shells.
- Six people died and over 50 people sustained injuries during the protest in Assam.
- The protest led to clashes between protestors and security personnel at the Jamia Millia Islamia University. Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University extended support to the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University.
- Incidents of arsons including highways and rail blockade over the act were also reported in West Bengal.