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What is Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and How it will affect the Goan Portuguese Passport Holders?

Goans are born with one additional blessing compared to any other Indian and that their right by birth to be eligible for the Portuguese
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Goans are born with one additional blessing compared to any other Indian and that their right by birth to be eligible for the Portuguese Passport and with the help of this many Goans have migrated to the UK and other EU countries in a search of better opportunities but the passing of Citizenship Bill in Parliament has created and fear of insecurity in the mind of many Goan Portuguese Passport Holders, and to add up this the Congress Legislative Party has called it a doom for the thousands of Goans who have obtained a Portuguese Passport. But is that true? Let us take a look at it in this article. 

The answer to this may not be easy and simple at all as the Citizenship Bill or CAB (Citizenship (Amendment) Bill) is already passed in the Parliament, and this bill is about the amendment of the citizenship act of 1955 which will make illegal Migrants who entered in India before 31st December 2014 eligible for Indian citizenship but there is one catch in it. What is that catch? Let’s take a look here. 

According to sources, the CAB makes the migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before 31 December 2014, eligible for Indian citizenship but it also makes them ineligible to hold the dual passport. 

Goans lined up in front of Portuguese Consulate for making Portuguese Passport

According to the Congress leader, this bill will put the fate of thousands of Goans who have obtained Portuguese passport under a special law enacted by Portugal holders in Peril. 

The congress spokesperson Trojans Dmello took the matter into media addressing the Congress MLAs holding ministerial berths in BJP lead government in Goa. Mr Trojans said that the Christian MLAs in the cabinet and those supporting the BJP-led coalition government should articulate their position on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).

“Those altar boys, specifically Panchayats Minister Mauvin Godinho, Ports Minister Michael Lobo, Revenue Minister Jennifer Monserrate who have joined the cabinet should articulate their position on the bill, which is a law that is aimed at dividing the country into religious lines. Their silence will be construed as their acceptance of the bill,” D’Mello said.

Goa, which was a Portuguese colony for over 450 years, gained independence from Portuguese rule in 1961. The departing Portuguese, however, offered Goan natives Portuguese citizenship. The privilege of availing Portuguese citizenship was later granted to Goans who had lived in Portuguese-ruled Goa, as well as their off-springs up to three generations down the line.

Amit Shah Presenting Citizenship Amendment Bill in R S

Thousands of Goans have used the opportunity to migrate to Portugal and subsequently to the UK, thanks to the easy access across countries under the aegis of the European Union. Rough estimates suggest that up to 30,000 Goans, majority of which are Christians, are living in the UK alone, using the Portuguese citizenship route.

D’mello said that CAB will result in alienating the linkage of Goans to Goa. “The Goans who have migrated to Portugal for livelihood, their very fate is now in question,” D’Mello said, although he failed to mention as to how the CAB will affect the fate of Portuguese passport holders. 

It may be recalled that following the bill was passed in Parliament and the Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant praised Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s effort for passage of the historic bill. What are your views on this bill? Will it jeopardise the rights of Goan?  

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