The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), received the assent of President Ram Nath Kovind turning it into an act. the Act comes into effect with its publication in the official gazette.
According to the Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The President’s assent comes even as protests in the northeastern states, particularly Assam, intensified on Thursday as violent mobs torched buildings and clashed with police, leading to the death of two people in police firing. Several others have also been wounded.
Meanwhile The US has urged India to protect the rights of its religious minorities in keeping with its Constitution and democratic values as it continues to watch the developments in various Indian states related to the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
“We are closely following developments about the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law are fundamental principles of our two democracies,” a State Department spokesperson said on Thursday.
“The US urges India to protect the rights of its religious minorities in keeping with India’s Constitution and democratic values,” the spokesperson said.
Mobile internet services have been suspended across Meghalaya for the next 48 hours, officials said in the wake of the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament. CVD Diengdoh, additional secretary to the government of Meghalaya (home police) department on Thursday said that mobile Internet and messaging were suspended for 48 hours from 5 pm on Thursday in entire Meghalaya to prevent a potential threat to public safety through SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering cancelling his trip to India scheduled to begin on Sunday, Japan’s Jiji Press reported.
Guwahati, the planned venue for a summit between Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been engulfed in violent protests over a controversial citizenship law.