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Understanding Citizenship (Amendment) Bill – 2016 and the role of JPC

10 Jan,2020 03:05 PM, by: Super Admin
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What is the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill?

In its most simplistic understanding, the citizenship (amendment) bill 2016 provides eligibility of citizenship, to 6 minority communities: Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from three countries i.e. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who had entered the country illegally in order to escape religious persecution, even if they do not provide the required documents.

Citizenship Bill, Assam and the Visit by JPC.

Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is formed when a motion is adopted by one house and it is supported or agreed by the other house (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). In case of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill – 2016, the committee holds meeting with concerned (individuals, minority groups, NGOs, association, student bodies, political parties and many more) stakeholders and reports the finding for discussion.

The citizenship census in Assam is in a crucial phase with the visit of the 16-member Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) which held meetings with various organizations & stakeholders about matters relating to different aspects of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Amidst much agitation and opposition regarding the Bill as well as the JPC meetings, in all reality this visit is only aimed to provide clarity on the situation to all concerned people.

Assam and the Matter of Citizenship

The initiative undertaken by the present government of Assam to build a national register of authentic citizens of the state and trace out the names of illegal migrants, thereby bringing an end to many of Assam’s long prevailing socio-economic problems, has been seen as a welcome move by people. In the midst of this, the news of the Citizenship (amendment) Bill being applied, has raised several questions and sparked off much skepticism amongst the people.

However, it has to be seen that the Assam Govt. has only facilitated the JPC hearing as it is a constitutional process. All stakeholders under the rule of law has the right to give their views on the Bill and the committee is just adhering to it.

Discussions bring Resolution.

The context of the matter is to bring a resolution to the matter rather than create obstacles over trivial matters. While the Citizenship Bill is a concern to the entire Assamese community, the attitude towards the issue isn’t the same. The genuine concern of the entire Assamese identity being at stake regarding the Bill and its supposed implications in the long run is a reality to everyone, so then, in the midst of all these when there is an emergence of voices intending to disrupt the flow is equally a threat.

In such a context, it is necessary to step beyond and see the matter from a broader perspective. False accusations can be seen as an attempt to turn the matter into propaganda to create political unrest, and that, is NOT what Assam needs. Supporting the discussion, on the other hand can help bring resolution of the fears that have emerged in the minds of the people.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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