Friday, 24th September 2021

Indian Govt open to offer citizenship to others like Lankan Tamils

New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS): The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 is not the last law on citizenship and if needed to accommodate others, like Tamils in Sri Lanka, the government may bring a fresh legislation, according to a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, here on Tuesday.

On the prevailing disenchantment in Tamil Nadu, whose residents have close emotional bonds with Tamils in Sri Lanka, a senior BJP functionary said, “The Citizenship Amendment Bill was not comprehensive but contextual. If need be, the government may bring another Bill to give citizenship to religious minorities of other neighbouring nations, like Sri Lanka”.

However, the government had no such plan in the immediate future, the leader added.

Also, Sri Lanka was not a country that Indians expected to be bracketed with nations like Bangladesh, Pakistan or Afghanistan, where religious minorities regularly faced persecution, he added.

Keeping the window open for a fresh legislation is definitely interesting, given the growing protests against the recent Citizenship Amendment Act.

The Act amends the definition of illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have been living in India without documentation.

The Act will grant them Indian citizenship in six years, instead of 12 years.

While, the Northeast is up in arms apprehending influx of immigrants that may alter their ethnic mix, the rest of India is protesting against exclusion of Muslims, calling it discriminatory.

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