Citizenship Amendment Act: TMC MP Moves Supreme Court Challenging Citizenship Amendment Act 
A woman is assisted after a fall as police personnel clash with agitators protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. (Source: PTI)

Citizenship Amendment Act: TMC MP Moves Supreme Court Challenging Citizenship Amendment Act 

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UN Closely Analysing Possible Consequences Of India's Citizenship Amendment Act: UN Spokesperson

The United Nations is closely analysing the possible consequences of India's amended Citizenship Act, a spokesperson for UN chief Antonio Guterres has said, insisting that the world body has its basic principles, including those enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and expect those to be upheld.

"We're aware that the lower and upper houses of the Indian Parliament have passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, and we're also aware of the concerns that have been publicly expressed. The United Nations is closely analysing the possible consequences of the law," Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General Farhan Haq said Thursday during the daily press briefing.

Haq was responding to a question on whether the Secretary-General has a comment on the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Haq added that he would also like to draw attention to the fact that some of the UN human rights mechanisms, including rapporteurs, “have already been expressing their concerns about the nature of this law, and you can see those from the Human Rights Office.” On whether there will be any statement after the UN completes its analysis of the possible consequences of the law, Haq said “we'll have to see what the nature of our reaction needs to be. Right now, we are in the process of analysing the features of this.

"And as I mentioned a few days earlier, of course, we have our basic principles, including those enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and expect those to be upheld,” he said.

BJP To Launch Campaign About Amended Citizenship Act

Under the Opposition's attack over the amended Citizenship Act, the BJP is set to launch a public awareness programme to inform people about its features and benefits, and also "dispel the propaganda" that the legislation is against any community.

Though the party intends to start a nation-wide campaign, it will run an intensive exercise in states where the legislation's beneficiaries are in large numbers.  West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh told PTI that the party will launch a mass contact programme and distribute literature about the law. He estimated that over two crore people can get Indian citizenship under the amended Act.

At many places, the campaign will start from Saturday, a day after the Winter Session of Parliament ends.

TMC MP Moves Supreme Court Challenging Citizenship (Amendment) Act

TMC leader Mahua Moitra moved the Supreme Court challenging the amended Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which got Presidential assent on Thursday night.

Moitra's counsel mentioned the matter on Friday for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, who asked him to approach the mentioning officer.

Moitra's counsel told the bench that the plea be listed either during the day or on Dec. 16.

President Ram Nath Kovind had on Thursday night gave his assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, turning it into an Act.

According to the Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till Dec. 31, 2014, and facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

New Law Not To Impact Goans With Portuguese Passport: Official

The amended Citizenship Act will not impact the rights of Goans holding Portuguese passport, the State NRI Commission clarified on Friday.

The clarification came after the opposition Congress sought to know the fate of Goans holding Portuguese passport following Parliament's approval to the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (CAB). President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday gave his assent to the bill, turning it into an Act.

On Thursday, state Congress spokesman Trajano D'Mello had criticised the provisions of the Act and said Christian ministers in the BJP government in Goa, a former Portuguese colony, should spell out their stand on the controversial legislation.

NRI commissioner Narendra Sawaikar asked the Congress to stop playing "divisive politics" on the issue.

"How and why will CAB bill divide India? It will not affect the rights of Goan passport holders before or after the CAB Bill," Sawaikar tweeted reacting to Congress statements.

"@INCIndia & @GoaCongress should stop playing divisive politics. India had it enough. Such tricks will not work," he said on Twitter.

D'Mello hadsaid "So many Goans opted for Portuguese passport because the government (here) has failed to provide them employment. The only purpose to get a Portuguese passport was to survive."

The parliamentary passage of the bill, which amended the Citizenship Act, 1955, marked the "darkest day" for the Constitution, the Congress spokesman had said.

Pictures Of Protest Against The Citizenship Amendment Act From Dec. 12

Citizenship Amendment Act: TMC MP Moves Supreme Court Challenging Citizenship Amendment Act 

(Image Source: PTI)

Curfew Relaxed In Dibrugarh, Protesters Observing Fast In Guwahati

The indefinite curfew which was in force in Dibrugarh municipal area was relaxed for five hours on Friday even as large number of people gathered in Chandmari area of Guwahati to observe a fast called by the AASU to protest against the Citizenship Act.

In Dibrugarh municipal area the indefinite curfew was relaxed from 8 a.m., officials said.

The Army and the security forces were conducting flag marches in Guwahati town which was the epicentre of the protests, besides Dibrugarh and Tezpur.

A large number of people, including artists, singers and filmstars are observing a 10-hour fast called by the influential students' organisation against the Citizenship Act from 6 a.m.

AASU chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said that the protests will continue.

"We will not succumb to any pressure and our agitation will continue," he said.

On Thursday two persons were killed in police firing and thousands descended on streets defying curfew as Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed his government was committed to safeguarding their rights.

Several towns and cities were placed under indefinite curfew, including Guwahati, the epicentre of protests, besides Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Dhekiajuli. Night curfew was imposed in Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts, officials said.

Internet services in 10 districts were suspended for another 48 hours beginning 12 p.m. of Thursday to prevent "misuse" of social media to disturb peace and tranquility, and to maintain law and order, officials said.

The state government had removed the Guwahati Police commissioner Deepak Kumar and appointed Munna Prasad Gupta in his place on Thursday.

Additional director general of police (law and order) Mukesh Agarwal was also transferred and replaced by ADGP (CID) GP Singh.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday gave his assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, turning it into an Act.

According to the Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till Dec. 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and by Lok Sabha on Monday.

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