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Citizen group seeks to bring modifications

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 July 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016

Special Correspondent

Silchar, July 22: Citizens’ Rights Preservation Committee (CRPC), Assam, has appreciated the initiative taken by rendra Modi Government in solving the long pending problems regarding the grant of citizenship to the victims of partition due to religious persecution, but feels the necessity of modification in the Bill. The Government of India tabled the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 in Lok Sabha on July 19 this year on the basis of its Gazette Notification issued on September 7, 2015. But, the gazette notification exempted a certain class of foreigners.

The Bill stated that “persons belonging to minority communities in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, mely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution and entered in this country on or before December 31, 2014, without valid documents including passport or other travel documents and who have been exempted under rule 4 from the provisions of rule 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, made under section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India), 1920 or with valid documents including passport or other travel documents and the validity of any such documents have expired. They are hereby granted exemption from the application of provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the orders made thereunder in respect of their stay in India without such documents or after the expiry of those documents, as the case may be, from the date of publication of this order in the Official Gazette.”

In the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, the Central Government has introduced certain clauses which according to CRPC are not easily accessible and acceptable to the victims of partition who are supposed to avail themselves with the benefits if it passed into legislation. Nripendra Chandra Saha, president, Sadhan Purkayastha, secretary general, and Bidhayak Das Purkayastha, general secretary, of CRPC, are of the opinion that the Bill in its present form has reduced the tenure of stay in India from 12 years to 7 years in order to be eligible to apply for citizenship.

But, the Central Government cannot assure that the victims who will stay in India during this period of 7 years to avail themselves of citizenship will not be harassed and tortured by the police, government officials and members of various organizations. Moreover, they will not get any benefits, scopes or avenues to them and their family members to lead a decent life. No doubt they will be relieved of the tag of “illegal migrant”, but they cannot enjoy the benefits and dignity of an Indian citizen. It will develop fear psychosis among them during the tenure of their stay of 7 years in this country.

The leaders of CRPC reminded the Central Government that they stick to their previous demand of granting citizenship which should be hassle free from the various steps of documentations, verification among others and reduce the period of stay in India for these victims from 7 years to at least 6 months, in order to be eligible to apply for Indian citizenship. It believes that if the period of stay is more, more will be the intensity of humiliation, torture and related problems.

The leaders of CRPC appeals to all tiol and regiol political parties of the country irrespective of their party and state barriers, who have their MPs in both the Upper House and Lower House to support and pass this Bill in both Houses so that it becomes a law, as the subject matter of the Bill is a long awaited tiol problem since the Independence which has crippled the affected communities and brought a stagtion in the all round development of the country.

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