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Govt issues 8-point 'myth-buster' on controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill

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New Delhi, Dec 10: Amid raging debate over the Citizenship Amendment Bill moves to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, after being passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday, the government has issued an eight-point explainer on the Bill that has triggered a major controversy.

Amit Shah

The government has issued the following 8-point explainer:

Myth: Citizenship Amendment Bill will provide citizenship to Bengali Hindus

Fact: Citizenship Amendment Bill does not automatically confer Indian citizenship to Bengali Hindus. It is just enabling legislation for persons belonging to six minority communities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It has been proposed on extremely humanitarian grounds as these minorities had fled from these three countries due to persecution on grounds of their religion.

CAB: Time to expose opposition's hypocrisy and false narrative to create an atmosphere of panic

Myth: Citizenship Amendment Bill dilutes 'Assam Accord'

Fact: Citizenship Amendment Bill does not dilute the sanctity of the Assam Accord as far as the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, stipulated for detection/deportation of illegal immigrants is concerned.

Myth: Citizenship Amendment Bill is against the interest of indigenous people of Assam.

Fact: Citizenship Amendment Bill is not Assam-centric. It is applicable to the whole country. Citizenship Amendment Bill is definitely not against National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is being updated to protect indigenous communities from illegal immigrants.

Myth: Citizenship Amendment Bill will lead to domination of Bengali speaking people.

Fact: Most of the Hindu Bengali population is settled in Barak Valley of Assam, where Bengali is declared the second State language. In Brahmaputra Valley, Hindu Bengalis are settled in isolated pockets and have adapted themselves to the Assamese language.

Myth: Bengali Hindus will become a burden for Assam.

Fact: Citizenship Amendment Bill is applicable to the whole country. Persons facing religious persecution are not settled only in Assam. They are staying in other parts of the country as well.

Myth: Citizenship Amendment Bill will trigger fresh migration of Hindus from Bangladesh.

Fact: Most of the minorities have already migrated from Bangladesh. Moreover, the scale of atrocities on them in Bangladesh has been coming down in recent years. In the changed scenario, large-scale migration on account of religious persecution is now a remote possibility.

Further, there is a cut-off date of December 31, 2014, and benefits under Citizenship Amendment Bill will not be available for members of the religious minorities who migrate to India after the cut-off date.

Myth: Citizenship Amendment Bill is a ploy to grab tribal land by accommodating Hindu Bengalis.

Fact: Hindu Bengalis are mostly settled in Barak Valley, away from tribal belts and blocks. Further, the Citizenship Amendment Bill does not contradict laws and regulations for the protection of tribal lands. Citizenship Amendment Bill is not applicable in areas where provisions of ILP and sixth schedule of the Constitution apply.

Myth: Citizenship Amendment Bill is discriminatory against Muslims.

Fact: Any foreigner of any religion from any country can apply for Indian citizenship if he/she is eligible to do so as per the existing provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Citizenship Amendment Bill does not change these provisions at all. It only enables migrants of six minority communities from three countries to apply for Indian citizenship if they meet the given criteria.

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