For many years, people of all religions migrated from Bangladesh to Assam. Some can be due to persecution and some may be for economic reasons. Now, this migration mostly stopped at present because of Bangladesh doing very well economically. However, existing illegal immigrants created hatred among local Assamese for illegal Bangladeshi immigrants from all religions.
Assamese demands lead to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam to identify illegal immigrants.
The point of NRC in Assam is to identify illegal immigrant. This is important because, as per the citizenship law of India, an illegal immigrant can not become a citizen in any way. Without citizenship, no voting rights.
This procedure of finding a place in NRC requires documents from older generations without any spelling mistakes. After very painful and costly NRC (1200 crores + 50000 workers), 19 lakhs were found to be illegal immigrants. Out of this, around 15 lakhs are expected to be Hindus and 4 lakhs Muslims.
As we already discussed, as per Citizenship law, a person declared as an illegal immigrant can not become a citizen in any way. So, these 19 lakhs can not become citizens even if they stay any number of years in India. This is because, naturalization – the process by which one becomes a citizen by staying in India for 11 years is NOT applicable for illegal immigrants.
So, 19 lakhs illegal immigrants declared by NRC in Assam can not become citizens. These will have no voting rights and need to be put in detention camps as Bangladesh is not ready to take them.
Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) came to solve this i.e., to provide citizenship to these illegal immigrants.
CAB declared a category: all non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India before 2014.
CAB said that this category will not be called ‘illegal immigrants’. Hence the problem solved. As they are no more called illegal immigrants, they can apply for citizenship by naturalization i.e., showing documents that they stayed for 11 years in India.
This 11 years time period is generally required for anyone who applies for citizenship by naturalization. CAB reduced this further for 5 years for the above category.
Problem 1: This category creation is defining citizenship by religion which is against our country’s morality. Defining citizenship is the way you define a country.
Problem 2: Because this category creation is leaving behind Muslims, the 4 lakh Muslims in Assam NRC illegal immigrants will never get citizenship. They will have no voting rights, no property rights and will be put in detention camps whereas their Hindu counterparts will get citizenship.