New law not to impact Goans with Portuguese passport

New law not to impact Goans with Portuguese passport

Congress spokesman Trajano D'Mello. Photo by Twitter.

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 had said "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.

According to the Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, 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 CAB was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and by the Lok Sabha on Monday.

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.

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