According to an official notification, the Act comes into effect with its publication in the official gazette on Thursday
President Ram Nath Kovind
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, became an Act of law after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the legislation on Thursday.

According to an official notification, the Act comes into effect with its publication in the official gazette on Thursday.

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

Comment: Politicians and media pundits would like to see this through the lens of "religion" towards their electoral fortunes, while the local population consider the immigrants (irrespective of religion) as a competition to their existing way of life and feel insecure.
On principle, there is nothing wrong in giving shelter to refugees who have faced atrocities in any particular country, but some have raised their voices against excluding Muslims from this special provision. The government's counter is that Muslims are unlikely to face persecution in the three countries-Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh-as they are Muslim-dominated. Interestingly, the government makes no provision for Hindu refugees coming from Sri Lanka or the Rohingya people from Myanmar who follow Islam. Several BJP leaders have gone on record to say that the Rohingyas are a threat to national security and even Muslim-dominated countries such as Saudi Arabia are pushing them away. They have also pointed out that while there are several Muslim-dominated countries, there is only India for Hindus. These leaders also go out of their way to point out that the bill seeks to provide shelter not to Hindus only but five other religious groups, including Christians.

Despite these arguments, the people of Northeast have strongly opposed this bill. Though the bill covers refugees from three nations, the people in the Northeast fear that it will primarily benefit the illegal Bengali Hindu migrants from Bangladesh who have settled in "large numbers" across the region. It's an established fact that a large number of illegal immigrants, both Muslims and Hindus, entered the Northeast-primarily Assam-and this bill is being seen as an attempt to legalise these illegal Hindu immigrants. The bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha in 2016, but the first Modi government could not get the Bill passed in Rajya Sabha and it lapsed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, however, reiterated that the BJP was committed to passing the Bill.

The Act says the refugees of the six communities will be given Indian citizenship after residing in India for five years, instead of earlier requirement of 11 years.

The Act also proposes to give immunity to such refugees facing legal cases after being found as illegal migrants.

According to the legislation, it will not be applicable to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and in the areas covered under the Inner Line Permit (ILP), notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

The ILP regime is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. However, a large section of people and organisations in the Northeast, especially in Assam and Tripura, have opposed the Act, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.

Protests against the legislation have intensified since Monday in the Northeast.

Comment: Here is an analysis about the complexity and diversity of the India's northeast region.

Two persons were killed on Thursday in police firing in Assam with thousands descending on streets defying curfew even 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, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Dhekiajuli. Night curfew was imposed in Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts, officials said.

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) moved the Supreme Court challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, saying it violates the fundamental Right to Equality of the Constitution and intends to grant citizenship to a section of illegal immigrants by making an exclusion on the basis of religion.