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  India   Politics  12 Mar 2024  CAA comes into force before poll

CAA comes into force before poll

Published : Mar 12, 2024, 12:46 am IST
Updated : Mar 12, 2024, 12:46 am IST

Opposition questions timing of Centre order

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

New Delhi: Days ahead of the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, the government on Monday announced the rules for implementation of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) 2019, paving the way for granting citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan amid strong protests by the Opposition parties, including Congress, Samajwadi Party, Trinamul Congress and the CPM.

According to the government notification, the CAA rules come into force in the country with immediate effect.

The government move came four years after the law was passed and paved the way for citizenship to undocumented and prosecuted non-Muslim migrants — Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians — from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who came to India up to December 31, 2014.

On March 1, this newspaper had reported that the rules for CAA would be announced ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

“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.

“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,” Union home minister Amit Shah said on X.

The home ministry again reiterated that this law is to give citizenship and not to take away citizenship of any Indian.

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.

Reacting to the timing of the rules for the CAA, the Congress alleged that the timing of notifying the rules was evidently designed to polarise the coming Lok Sabha elections, especially in West Bengal and Assam.

AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh also alleged that the announcement was 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 Pinarayi Vijayan described the CAA as a communally divisive law and asserted that it will not be implemented in the state.

The TMC, led by Mamata Banerjee, has been opposing the CAA since the beginning and on Monday she said she would fiercely oppose the law if she found it to be discriminatory against groups of people living in India and if it curtailed their existing citizenship rights in any manner. Stating that the CAA and the NRC are sensitive to West Bengal and the Northeast, Banerjee said she doesn't want unrest before the Lok Sabha elections.

”Why do these only days before the Lok Sabha polls are scheduled to be announced? Why did the Centre have to wait for four years to notify the law after it was passed in Parliament?” Ms Banerjee asked. The Centre should have published the notification “before leaking it to the press... Why wait for the sundown? This, after all, is not freedom at midnight”, she added.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday attacked the Centre for notifying the rules of the CAA and termed it  as the BJP’s game of distraction. He also said that the BJP government at the Centre should also explain why lakhs of citizens gave up their citizenship of the country during their 10-year rule.

Over 100 people lost their lives during the anti-CAA protests or police action. On Monday, security was beefed up in Shaheen Bagh, Jamia and other areas of the national capital where anti-CAA protests were held in the past. Security has been beefed up in many parts of the country.

A section of West Bengal’s Matua community celebrated the implementation of the CAA rules at the headquarters of the sect in Thakurnagar, North 24 Parganas, on Monday, saying it was a “second independence day”. Matuas, originally from East Pakistan, are a weaker section of Hindus who migrated to India during the Partition and after the creation of Bangladesh.

Pakistani Hindu refugees residing in Delhi expressed a sense of hope and relief on the implementation of the contentious CAA on Monday, saying they are elated that they “will be finally called Indian citizens”.

Tags: citizenship amendment act (caa), samajwadi party, trinamul congress, cpm, indian national congress, caa nrc protests
Location: India, Delhi