Massive clamour has erupted over the Citizenship Amendment Act in Assam. A large section believes the act would nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985. Some people are concerned about influx of Hindu migrants from Bangladesh which would "threaten" the identity of indigenous communities. The government has come out with an 11-point series to bust all the "myths" about the Citizenship Amendment Act which has been passed by the Parliament and assented to by President Ram Nath Kovind.
Myth: Citizenship Amendment Act
Fact: Citizenship Amendment Act does not dilute the sanctity of Assam Accord as far as the cut-off date of March 24, 1971 is concerned. CAA is a special legislation intended to address the concerns of only a few identified minorities on humanitarian grounds. The cut-off date of December 31, 2014, in the context of CAA in no way, dilutes the sanctity of Assam Accord.
Myth: Citizenship Amendment Act is against the interest of indigenous people of Assam
Fact: Citizenship Amendment Act is not Assam-centric. It is applicable to the whole country. Citizenship Amendment Act is definitely not against National Register of Citizens/NRC, which is being updated to protect indigenous communities from illegal immigrants.
Myth: Citizenship Amendment Act will violate provisions of Article 371
Fact: No provision of Article 371 would be violated by this bill. The linguistic, cultural and social identity of the people of the North East would be preseved.
Myth: Provisions of Citizenship Amendment Act will apply to the tribal areas of NE
Fact: Provisions of the amendments to the Citizenship Act would not be applicable to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.
Myth: Areas regulated through 'The Inner Line Permit' will be included.
Fact: The areas regulated under 'The Inner Line' permit have been exempted. Manipur also brought under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime.
Myth: Citizenship Amendment Act aims to facilitate intruders
Fact: It is only a Constitutional process to give citizenship to those who were denied basic civil rights for the last 70 years. It aims to target genuine refugees and not intruders.
Myth: Citizenship Amendment Act will trigger fresh migration of Hindus from Bangladesh
Fact: As per reports, population share of Hindus in Bangladesh has declined steeply from 28 per cent to nearly 8 per cent now. Thus, most of the minorities have already migrated from the country. 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 CAA will not be available for members of the religious minorities who migrate to India after the cut-off date.
Myth: Bengali Hindus will become a burden for Assam
Fact: CAA 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. As such, the fear that Assam will have to bear extra burden is misplaced.
Myth: Citizenship Amendment Act 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 Assamese language. As such, there is no question of linguistic domination of Assamese-speaking people by Bengali-speaking people.
Myth: Citizenship Amendment Act will affect the interest of minorities in Assam
Fact: Citizenship Amendment Act applies to minorities from other countries, and has no connection to minorities in Assam.
Myth: Citizenship Act 2019 will enable over 1.5 lakh undocumented Hindu Bangladeshis residing in Assam to get Indian citizenship
Fact: No foreigners will get citizenship automatically by the Act. A prescribed authority will scrutinise each application submitted for citizenship, and only those persons complying with the criteria specified in the Act will be granted Indian citizenship.