Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, where Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime is applicable, will be kept out of the purview of the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which is expected to be introduced in the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament on 9 December.
The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, in order to grant Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who come to India due to religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan even if they don't possess proper documents.
The information comes amidst widespread criticism of the draft law from the northeastern states, which are sceptical about the protection of rights of their indigenous population, once the new law recognises Hindu Bengalis and other migrants as citizens of India.
Apart from this, Opposition parties in the rest of India have been against the policy claiming that it is not only unconstitutional to grant citizenship on a religious basis, but is also discriminatory against Muslims.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has taken various initiatives to reach out to all stakeholders in the northeastern states to address their concerns and to hold discussions with the chief ministers of the region, different indigenous groups, civil society members and political parties of the region to assuage their concerns over the issue.
Twelve non-BJP MPs have also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exclude the northeastern states from the purview of the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill, saying if it comes into effect the tribal population of the region will be vulnerable to displacement.
The ILP regime is under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. In terms of Section 2 of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, the Inner Line Permit system is prevalent in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
Citizens of other states require ILP for visiting these three states.
The main objective of the ILP system is to prevent settlement of other Indian nationals in the three states in order to protect the indigenous population.
Under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, autonomous councils and districts were created in tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura. The autonomous councils and districts enjoy certain executive and legislative powers.
The CAB was a poll promise in BJP's 2014 and 2019 election manifesto, and it is being viewed in consonance with Shah's promise to make a nationwide National Register of Citizen to identify and deport illegal immigrants. Critics believe the BJP wants to protect primarily Bengali Hindu migrants from Bangladesh from being excluded from NRC through this law.
A large section of the people and organisations in the North East have opposed the Bill, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed 24 March, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.
The Congress, Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a few other political parties have been steadfastly opposing the Bill, claiming that citizenship can't be given on the basis of religion.
The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the Bill in its previous tenure and got the Lok Sabha's approval. But the government did not introduce it in the Rajya Sabha, apparently due to vehement protests in the North East. The Bill lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha.
According to the earlier Bill, those who came to India on or before 31 December, 2014, will benefit from the proposed legislation after it becomes an act. There is a possibility of changes in the cut-off date too, another official said.
The BJP and its Hindutva affiliates have insisted that minorities from the three countries, which include a significant number of Hindus, should be granted Indian citizenship.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 04, 2019 19:26:12 IST