Amid massive protests in Assam and other northeastern states, the Citizenship Amendment Act was notified after President Ram Nath Kovind gave it his assent late on Thursday, ANI reported.
The amendment bill was passed in Parliament this week following lengthy debates and amid protests in the North East. The contentious law grants citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, provided they have resided in India for six years. The cut-off date is December 31, 2014. It explicitly excludes Muslims from three neighbouring countries from applying for Indian citizenship.
The widespread fear in the North East is that populations defined as indigenous to the region will be culturally and physically overrun by migrants as a result of this law’s provisions.
On Thursday, two protestors died in Guwahati and 11 suffered bullet injuries. At least 300 protestors, including activist Akhil Gogoi, were detained by the Assam Police as the violence escalated across the state. Transport and other services were affected as several flights and trains were cancelled. A curfew has been imposed in some Assam districts, while mobile internet was suspended in some parts and in Meghalaya too.
The Indian Union Muslim League has moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the amendments to the Citizenship Act, while the Congress has said it will take the matter to the top court as well.