Why North Eastern Region of India has been celebrating? - Seeker's Thoughts

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Why North Eastern Region of India has been celebrating?

North Eastern region of India has been bursting firecrackers, and people have been dancing, singing and organising victory rallies.

The reason for this happiness is that the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill could not be tabled in the second house of the parliament.
The present government is in the last days of ruling until the new election happens in a couple of months. 
Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram have a population of two categories- the first one are the locals in majority and second one is of refugees who migrated due to various reasons. 
A picture of protest of Chakma Community

The Reason to Protest 
There is a perception among local of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh that many Chakmas have crossed over from the adjoining Chittagong hill tracts in Bangladesh following displacement by the Kaptai dam in the 1960s.

 Some came later along with some 2,000 Hajongs, who are Hindus, because of alleged religious persecution.
Nearly 5,000 Chakmas and a few Hajongs who had taken refuge in Mizoram — then the Lushai Hills part of Assam — were settled in Arunachal Pradesh.
 Indigenous groups in Arunachal Pradesh say their population has now increased to beyond 1,00,000 but the Chakmas and Hajongs say they are half that number.
Therefore, locals in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram protested against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 because it would support the claims of Chakma and Hajong refugees as the local (indigenous) people of the state.

Who are Chakmas and Hajong?
The Chakmas, who are Buddhists, and the Hajongs, who are Hindus, also allegedly faced religious persecution and entered India through the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram). The Centre moved the majority of them to the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), which is now Arunachal Pradesh.
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 and 2019- An analysis

The Citizenship Amendment Bill passed in Lok Sabah in January 2019; the bill sought to amends the citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.

Note – The citizenship Act, 1955 prohibits illegal migrants from acquiring Indian citizenship
The bill will provides that registration of overseas citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law. It also seeks to reduce the minimum years of residency in India to apply citizenship to be lessened from 12 years to 7 years for such migrants. The bill will apply to all states and union territories of the country.

What citizenship Act 1955 says?

According to the Citizenship Act (1955), there are categories of – citizens and aliens. Citizens are the people of India, and aliens from different land. However recently there have been various controversies related to illegal migrants, who are not treated as citizen of India. In some states which share border with other countries have seen a huge influx of migrants, and no deny that there were regional protest against these migrants in – Assam and Tripura State.

While, these migrants and refugees were about to send back, there was issues related to their human rights.

Who is considered as illegal migrant?
 An illegal immigrant is defined as a person who enters India without a valid passport or stays in the country after the expiry of the visa permit. It also includes the immigrant, who uses fake documents in the process.

Earlier Citizenship Act Amendments and NRC in Assam and Tripura
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a list that contains names of Indian citizens of Assam and later in Tripura the matter arrived in concern. It was last prepared after Census in 1951.Assam, which had faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC.

The Assam government on July 30, 2018 released the second and final draft of the state’s National Register of Citizens (NRC). The draft includes the names of Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971.

As per the Draft, the total number of persons included in the list is 2, 89, 83,677 leaving a total of 40, 70,707 as ineligible for inclusion. Out of 40, 70,707 names, 37, 59,630 names have been rejected and 2, 48,077 names are kept on hold.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill was proposed in Lok Sabha on July 19, amending the Citizenship Act of 1955. If this Bill is passed in Parliament, illegal migrants from certain minority communities coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan will then be eligible for Indian citizenship.
In short, illegal migrants belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and Jain, Paris or Christian religious communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan would not be imprisoned or deported.  Moreover, these citizens gain permanent citizenship after six years of residency in India instead of 11 years — as mentioned in the Citizenship Act (1955).

The registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may get cancelled if they violate any law.

Citizenship is granted to an individual by the government of the country when he/she complies with the legal formalities, so it’s like a judicial concept.

In India, the Citizenship Act, 1995 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship:

1.      Birth.

2.     Descent.

3.     Registration.

4.     Naturalization.

5.     Incorporation of the territory.

However, it contains neither any permanent nor any elaborate provisions in this regard. It only identifies the persons who became citizens of India at its commencement (i.e., on January 26, 1950).
It does not deal with the problem of acquisition or loss of citizenship subsequent to its commencement.
It empowers the Parliament to enact a law to provide for such matters and any other matter relating to citizenship.
According to the Constitution, the following four categories of persons became the citizens of India at its commencement i.e., on 26 January, 1950:

Condition to be a citizen of India- Earlier 
A person who had his domicile in India and also fulfilled any one of the three conditions, viz. 
To sum up, these provisions deal with the citizenship of
 (a) Persons domiciled in India; 
(b) Persons migrated from Pakistan; 
(c) Persons migrated to Pakistan but later returned; and 
(d) Persons of Indian origin residing outside India

What are the issues and challenges?
The Bill seemed to be violating the Right to Equality, (Article 14) which seeks to grants citizenship to illegal migrants on the basis of religion.
It fails the test of reasonability which is contained in Article 14. This is because it does not provide any appropriate reasons for limiting eligibility of citizenship to 6 minorities of only 3 countries.
For example – Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, Ahmadiyya and Shia Muslims from Pakistan and Uyghur Muslims from china who face religious prosecution have been overlooked.

Fails on international refugee law
United Nation’s refugee convention 1951, granting refuge based on humanitarian considerations is arguably a norm of customary international law. Though India is not a signatory of the convention. The bill considers persecuted minorities as migrants whereas word migration refers to the voluntary movement of people, primarily for better economic prospects. Contrarily, refuge is an involuntary Act of forced movement.

The bill particularly violates clause 1 of the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples which states that indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.

The bill should be considered a positive sign as it seeks to address the problems of ill- treatment of minorities who had no other option aside from coming to India illegally. The government must look to accommodate the Ahamdiyyas, Uyghur and Rohingyas who are persecuted minorities and have approached India to seek refuge in time of need. There is also a need formulate policies and take right measures to provide education, employment and a proper facilities to the migrants, there is also need to take necessary steps to assure that the rights and socio-culture identity of indigenous people is not affected.