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Rediff.com  » News » Centre notifies CAA rules ahead of Lok Sabha polls

Centre notifies CAA rules ahead of Lok Sabha polls

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: March 11, 2024 22:27 IST
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The Centre on Monday implemented the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, a move that comes four years after the contentious law was passed and paves the way for citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

IMAGE: All Assam Students' Union (AASU) activists stage a protest after central government has officially notified the rules for the implementation of CAA, in Guwahati on Monday, March 11, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

The rules were notified days ahead of the expected announcement of the Lok Sabha elections. With this, the Modi government will now start granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants -- Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians -- from the three countries.

Union Minister Amit Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has delivered on another commitment and realised the promise of the makers of the Constitution.

 

"These rules, called the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024 will enable the persons eligible under CAA-2019 to apply for the grant of Indian citizenship," a home ministry spokesperson said.

"The applications will be submitted in a completely online mode for which a web portal has been provided," the spokesperson added.

The CAA was passed in December 2019 and subsequently got the president's assent but there were protests in several parts of the country against it, with many opposition parties speaking out against the law calling it 'discriminatory'.

The law could not come into effect as rules had not been notified till now.

'These rules will now enable minorities persecuted on religious grounds in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to acquire citizenship in our nation.

'With this notification, PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji has delivered on another commitment and realised the promise of the makers of our Constitution to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians living in those countries,' Shah said on X.

The Congress and other opposition parties slammed the government's step, alleging it is designed to polarise the coming Lok Sabha elections, especially in West Bengal and Assam.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also alleged that the announcement is yet another attempt to 'manage the headlines' after the Supreme Court's strictures on the electoral bonds issue.

"After seeking nine extensions for the notification of the rules, the timing right before the elections is evidently designed to polarise the elections, especially in West Bengal and Assam," the Congress leader said.

Kerala CM Pinaray Vijayan described CAA as a communally divisive law and asserted that it will not be implemented in the state.

According to the Manual on Parliamentary Work, the rules for any legislation should be framed within six months of presidential assent or the government has to seek an extension from the Committees on Subordinate Legislation in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Since 2020, the Home Ministry has been taking extensions at regular intervals from the parliamentary committee for framing the rules.

No document will be sought from the applicants, an official said.

Pakistani Hindu refugees, who have been living a life of uncertainty, welcomed the government's step.

Dharamveer Solanki, a leader of Pakistani Hindu refugee families in Delhi, told PTI that around 5,000 from the community will receive citizenship now.

"I and my family have been waiting for this for over a decade now. We are extremely happy that we will be finally called Indian citizens. I am glad I decided to return to my homeland in 2013," Solanki said.

Over 100 people lost their lives during the anti-CAA protests or police action.

On Monday, security was stepped up in Shaheen Bagh, Jamia and other areas of the national capital as well as in various states where anti-CAA protests were held in the past.

On December 27, 2023, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that no one can stop the implementation of the CAA as it is the law of the land and accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of misleading people on the issue.

Addressing a party meeting in Kolkata, Shah said it is the BJP's commitment to implement the CAA.

The TMC, led by Mamata Banerjee, has been opposing the CAA since the beginning.

The promise of implementing the controversial CAA was a major poll plank of the BJP in the last Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in West Bengal. The saffron party's leaders consider it a plausible factor that led to the rise of the BJP in Bengal.

In the last two years, over 30 district magistrates and home secretaries in nine states have been given powers to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

According to the annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs for 2021-22, from April 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, a total of 1,414 foreigners belonging to these non-Muslim minority communities from the three countries were given Indian citizenship by registration or naturalisation under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The nine states where Indian citizenship by registration or naturalisation is given under the Citizenship Act, 1955 to non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra.

Authorities of none of the districts of Assam and West Bengal, where the issue is politically very sensitive, have been given the powers so far.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.