The Citizenship (Amendment) Act does not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura. It will also not apply to areas covered under the Inner Line Permit (ILP). Presently, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland fall under the Inner Line Permit.
The ILP is a system introduced for border areas by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. Indian citizens outside such declared areas can visit the places only if they have a permit. They cannot settle in such areas even with the ILP.
Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are not offered citizenship under the new Act. Critics have questioned the exclusion. The Amendment limits itself to the Muslim-majority neighbours of India and, secondly, takes no cognizance of the persecuted Muslims of those countries. According to The Economist, if the Indian government was concerned about religious persecution, it should have included Ahmadiyyas – a Muslim sect who have been "viciously hounded in Pakistan as heretics", and the Hazaras – another Muslim sect who have been murdered by the Taliban in Afghanistan. They should be treated as minorities.
Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh are Muslim-majority countries that have modified their Constitutions in recent decades to declare Islam their official state religion. Therefore, according to the Indian government, Muslims in these Islamic countries are "unlikely to face religious persecution". The government states that Muslims cannot be "treated as persecuted minorities" in these Muslim-majority countries. The BBC states that while these countries have provisions in their constitution guaranteeing non-Muslims rights, including the freedom to practice their religion, in practice non-Muslim populations have experienced discrimination and persecution.
Some similar acts for persecuted religious minorities, excluding the majority religion, have been introduced in other secular countries such as United States, case in point being the "Religious Persecution Relief Act, 2016", which has a similar approach "this bill declares that Syrian nationals who are religious minorities in their country of origin: shall be classified as refugees of special humanitarian concern, shall be eligible for priority two processing under the refugee resettlement priority system".
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