The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act which grants citizenship to six non-Muslim communities — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian — who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan up to December 31, 2014 on account of facing religious persecution, came into force on Friday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs announcement came through a gazette notification almost a month after the law was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019 during the winter session.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of the section 1 of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (47 of 2019), the Central Government hereby appoints the 10th day of January, 2020, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force,” the notification says.
The passage of the law in parliament sparked protests across the country— the strongest dissent against Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he came to power in 2014. As many as 27 people, including three children, are reported to have lost their lives following police action at protests with most protesters killed in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.
The law, which excludes Muslims from its ambit, has been sharply criticised by the Opposition. Opposition parties including the DMK, Congress, TMC, CPI, CPI (M), have carried out rallies against the Act, terming it unconstitutional.
The protests across the country, in cities and districts, have also highlighted other issues, including the high rates of unemployment, the economic slowdown and the internet lockdown in Kashmir, among other issues.
Several protesters from all walks of life have courted arrest, opposing the Act.
(With inputs from IANS)