December 11, 2019: Since nobody reads legislation anymore (even lawyers apparently), here’s my attempt at dispelling a few myths on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) on the basis of certain social media posts I have been seeing.
This bill applies only to ‘illegal migrants’ who meet all four criteria: a) non-Muslims, b) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan; c) who came to India prior to 31 December 2014, and d) who enjoy the benefit of the waiver of Foreigners Act and Passports Act.
The Bill does not prohibit Muslims from all countries from becoming registered or naturalised citizens of India. The legal process by which say, Adnan Sami became a citizen of India, is still there in Section 7 of the Citizenship Act.
CAB Does Not Grant Citizenship Automatically
No one beyond the 30,000 or so people who meet all the criteria mentioned in point number 1, needs to register anything with anyone, and they too need to do it if they want Indian citizenship.
The CAB does not grant anyone citizenship automatically — each of the 30,000 individuals mentioned in point number 3 have to apply, and they are not automatically granted citizenship. It does, however, prevent a large section of illegal migrants from even applying, when others like them are permitted to do so.
Citizenship Bill Doesn’t Change Status of An Existing Citizen of India
The Citizenship Amendment Bill does not change the status of anyone who is already a citizen of India.
This is NOT an NRC. There is no talk of a National Register of Citizens in the CAB.The CAB will NOT help anyone who has been excluded from the NRC process in Assam. In fact, even if a ‘nation-wide’ NRC were to be introduced tomorrow, the CAB would not help anyone who has been left out of the process.