Fourteen of Northeast’s 25 Parliamentary constituencies has gone to polls in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections 2019 on 11th April against the backdrop of protests across the region against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955. The bill seeks to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for Indian citizenship.
The Bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalisation.
The bill has been highly criticised and opposed by, different political parties and by common people across north-east India. The major grounds of criticism are: a) Violation of Article 14 (equality before the law) as it seeks to grant citizenship to illegal migrants on the basis of religion, b) against basic structure of the Constitution as it undermines secularism, c) undermines the rights of indigenous people of North-East India and would aggravate the migrant issue by allowing Hindu Bangladeshis.