Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi government is set to introduce the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, in parliament’s winter session starting from Monday.
The government has listed the Bill in its items of business for the session, official sources said yesterday.
The winter session is scheduled to be held between November 18 to December 13.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government had introduced the Bill in its previous tenure as well but could not push it through due to lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha and vehement protests by opposition parties which criticised the proposed law as discriminatory on religious grounds.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who fled those countries due to religious persecution.
Also, there has been opposition to the Bill in Assam and other Northeastern states where student outfits, political parties and socio-cultural bodies have been protesting on the ground that it seeks to grant nationality to non-Muslims, mostly Hindus, who have come into India up to December 31, 2014, thereby increasing the deadline from 1971 as per the Assam Accord.
Meanwhile, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad yesterday announced it will launch an awareness programme in West Bengal from next week on the need for National Register of Citizens (NRC) to weed out “Bangladeshi infiltrators” from the state and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to grant citizenship to refugees.