Explainer: What does passage of India's controversial citizenship bill mean?


Protestors gather at Latasil ground to protest against the passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill amid a curfew in Guwahati

Rights organizations say Modi-supporting lawmakers have cleared the bill to justify deportation of thousands of Muslims living in the north-eastern state of Assam and unable to provide documents to prove Indian citizenship.

Protests were also staged in several other towns and cities of Uttar Pradesh, including in the Hindu holy city of Prayagraj, whose former name Allahabad was changed by the state's Hindu nationalist government in 2018. Transport may be affected in various parts of the region.

"U.S. citizens in the northeastern states of India should exercise caution in light of media reports of protests and violence in response to the approval of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill".

However, residents of Assam are split on the issue, with many against further migration.

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The law's enactment has stirred up protests across India, but the eastern part of the country, where movements against Bangladeshi immigrants have raged for decades, has been among the worst hit.

The United Kingdom and Canada also issued a similar advisory.

Two others had been killed during the violent protests against the CA in Guwahati earlier this week.

On Friday university students in Delhi clashed with police, who used batons and tear gas shells to quell the protests. The contentious legislation was passed this week by the Parliament.

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AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday said he has filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court, challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act. The law was approved Wednesday, allowing for a speedy application process for non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Opposition parties and civil society members in India criticize the bill as contrary to secular principles enshrined in India's constitution as it excludes Muslims. The legislation has put the Northeast on the boil as people fear that it may exacerbate the problem of illegal immigration, while Muslims across the country apprehend that the move could be a precursor to the country-wide implementation of the National Register for Citizens (NRC).

The recent Amendment to the Citizenship Act brings back the two-nation theory by introducing a distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims for purposes of granting exemption for citizenship by naturalisation.

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