No place for Sri Lankan refugees in India’s citizenship amendment bill?

No place for Sri Lankan refugees in India’s citizenship amendment bill?

December 11, 2019   06:03 pm

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A controversial draft law on refugee naturalization that’s being discussed in the Indian Parliament contains no provisions for Tamil Hindu refugees from Sri Lanka, a senior political leader of India Sanjay Raut says.

Raut’s comments were reported by ANI, a news agency, just moments before India’s Rajya Sabha began discussing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The bill offers a path to Indian citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants who faced religious persecution in three Islamic South Asian nations: Pakistan, Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, India’s Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan on Tuesday wondered why Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims were left out of the ambit of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill if it was a “genuinely benevolent” legislation.

India’s Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Monday. It will be tabled in Rajya Sabha for its consideration on Wednesday.

According to the proposed legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan by December 31, 2014, and faced religious persecution in those countries, will not be treated as illegal immigrants and given Indian citizenship.

Tamil Nadu has a significant number of Sri Lankan Tamils living in various parts of the state, including in government camps. Many of them had fled Sri Lanka during the ethnic strife in the 1980s.

-Agencies

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