GUWAHATI, Feb 10 - Vociferous support or strident opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2016 is ‘politically motivated’, said Suhas Chakma, director of New Delhi-based Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG).
Interacting with scribes at the Guwahati Press Club as part of its ‘Meet the Press’ programme through video-conferencing from New Delhi on Friday, Chakma stated that the proposed amendment neither changes the status quo on the ground nor does it allay long-standing concerns over the issue of refugees.
Explaining his point of view on the Bill, Chakma said the Bill does not introduce any new element whatsoever. It relates to exempting Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Sikhs from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh from being defined as ‘illegal immigrants’, he said. But since the Hindus who came from Pakistan and Afghanistan to settle in India’s western part have been applying for citizenship and getting it too, there is no reason as to why their counterparts elsewhere in the country cannot do and get the same, he added.
The Bill also relates to the reduction of the waiting period for submitting an application for citizenship via naturalisation from 11 years to 6 years. It makes no difference as those who had come to India by 2007 can now apply for citizenship, Chakma said.
“If CAB does come about, all it will accomplish is enable those who came by 2012 to apply for citizenship; otherwise, their turn will come in 2023 in due course. The process will continue,” the RRAG director pointed out.