Sat, 13 April 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

CAA becomes reality in India ahead of polls

Update : 11 Mar 2024, 21:11

Indian government on Monday evening issued a notification for the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, or CAA, which is set to be implemented just weeks before the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

The CAA - which makes religion, for the first time, a test of Indian citizenship, and sparked fears it could be used to target religious minorities - was cleared by Parliament in December 2019 amid violent protests nationwide, in which over 100 people died, and fierce resistance from activists and opposition politicians.

Now that the notification has been issued, the central government can grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants - from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan - who came to India before December 31, 2014.  

A spokesperson for the Indian Home Ministry said eligible individuals could submit applications in "a completely online mode". No other documentation will be sought from the applicants, one official said.  

Implementation of the CAA was a major campaign platform for the BJP before the 2019 election.

And this notification comes less than a month after Home Minister Amit Shah called the CAA  "an act of the country" and said, "it will definitely be notified. CAA will come into effect before the election..."

The Home Minister - who led the government's charge on this topic in both houses of Parliament - also played down fears the CAA, and the NRC, or National Register of Citizens, will be used to target Muslims.

He accused Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee - who has long been one of the CAA's fiercest and most vocal critics - of deliberately misleading the people of her state on this topic. Bengal - with 42 Lok Sabha seats -  is shaping to be a key battleground for the BJP as it bids to reach its target of 370.

Meanwhile, Ms Banerjee hit out almost immediately, telling reporters at a hastily-convened press conference that her government would steadfastly oppose "anything that discriminates (against) people". 

"If there is any discrimination, we won't accept it. Be it religion, caste, or linguistic. They won't be able to give citizenship to anyone in two days. This is just lollipop and show-off," she declared. 

After multiple extensions in four years, its implementation two to three days before the election announcement shows that it is being done for political reasons," she slammed the BJP.

The Trinamool boss also pointed out the CAA, the NRC, and the NPR, or National Population Register, were sensitive topics in Bengal and the northeast, and that she does not want unrest before the election.

Significantly, parts of the northeast have been exempted from the CAA. 


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