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No automatic citizenship for minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh: MHA sources

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New Delhi, Dec 17: In the wake of the ongoing protests regarding the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Ministry of Home Affairs has clarified that migrants of the six faiths who came down to India on or before December 31 2014 will not become Indian citizens automatically.

A Home Ministry official told OneIndia that the citizenship will be awarded after the competent authority makes an assessment and certifies that such persons fulfil all the requirements for registration or naturalisation as Indian citizens.

No automatic citizenship for minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh: MHA sources

The officer also said that the rules would be soon notified under the amended act that was passed in Parliament last week. Under the amended act, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who have come from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan on or before December 31, 2014, will not be treated as illegal migrants.

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    The rules would mandate that the applicant uploads certain documents that would prove that he or she had come down on or before December 31 2014. Further it would also be necessary for the person to prove that he or she has completed the minimum 5 year residency period.

    The new rules would set the process to be followed by the district administration and the superintendent of police. The administration would conduct the verification of these persons. Once the assessment is completed, the MHA would take the final call before issuing a certificate the official also added.

    The rules would also mandate that the person applying would also need to declare in an affidavit that he or she had moved to India due to religious persecution faced in the three countries.

    The MHA official however made it clear that the amended act would not apply to Indian citizens. The aim is to grant Indian citizenship to the six minority religious faiths, who have suffered religious persecution.

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    Inner Line Permit:

    The officer said that the amended act has a clause with regard to the Inner Line Permit Regime Areas. The Actl states that the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime areas and those regions that are governed under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution are excluded from the purview of this Act.

    The ILP is prevalent in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. This would mean that citizens of other states visiting these states would require the ILP. This is because these areas are governed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

    Section 2 of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873 states that the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram fall under the purview of the ILP. The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution speaks about autonomous councils and districts were created in the tribal areas of Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya. These areas enjoy several legislative and executive powers.

    While the ILP is restricted to the three states, there are 10 areas across the North East which are under the Sixth Schedule. These 10 areas include 3 each from Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and 1 from Tripura.

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    The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the administration of the tribal areas in the four northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram as per Article 244.

    The Governor is empowered to increase or decrease the areas or change the names of the autonomous districts. While executive powers of the Union extend in Scheduled areas with respect to their administration in Vth schedule, the VIth schedule areas remain within executive authority of the state.

    The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.

    The Councils have also been endowed with wide civil and criminal judicial powers, for example establishing village courts etc. However, the jurisdiction of these councils is subject to the jurisdiction of the concerned High Court.

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