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The Central government enacts the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

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Today, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced the rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), facilitating its nationwide enforcement. This law simplifies the process for Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian, and Parsi refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan to obtain Indian citizenship.

The ministry’s spokesperson stated on X that citizenship applications will be exclusively submitted online.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will announce today the Rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA-2019). These rules, known as the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024, will allow eligible individuals under CAA-2019 to apply for Indian citizenship. Applications will be exclusively online, facilitated by a dedicated web portal,” stated the official X handle.

This follows Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement weeks ago that the law would be enacted before the Lok Sabha elections.

The law aims to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from these countries who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

Following its enactment in 2019, protests erupted across various regions of the country.

A month ago, Amit Shah asserted that the CAA law cannot be halted.

“This law will be put into action before the elections… It’s the law of the land, unstoppable, and undeniable reality,” he affirmed during an event.

Amit Shah emphasized that the CAA belongs to the nation and reassured minorities that it wouldn’t revoke anyone’s citizenship.

“The CAA is a national statute… It will be enacted before the elections, eliminating any confusion. Our Muslim community and minorities are being incited… The CAA does not revoke anyone’s citizenship as there’s no provision for it. It’s designed to grant citizenship to refugees persecuted in Bangladesh and Pakistan,” Shah stated during the ET Now-Global Business Summit in Delhi in February.

During the same event, Amit Shah mentioned that the law was pledged by the Congress government.

“The CAA was a commitment of the Congress government. When the nation was partitioned and minorities faced persecution in those countries, Congress promised refugees they were welcome in India and would receive Indian citizenship. Now, they are retracting,” he elaborated.

Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal and leader of the Trinamool Congress, declared on Thursday that her government would oppose the enforcement of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state.

“We oppose the CAA, NRC, and divisive politics in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, including attempts to divide the Matua community and Hindus and Muslims. We reject this. They dispatched over 400 teams to Bengal. How many teams did they send to Manipur, where our sisters were burned?” she stated.

BJP praises decision, while the Opposition criticizes it

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath lauded the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on Monday. He expressed gratitude to Amit Shah and PM Modi for their efforts to assist minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

“The decision to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the betterment of persecuted humanity is a significant milestone. It offers a path to a dignified life for minority communities facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan,” he stated.

Rajasthan CM Bhajanlal Sharma expressed gratitude, saying, “There has been a longstanding demand. I extend thanks to PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for aiding our brothers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan…They will now receive citizenship.”

West Bengal BJP President Sukanta Majumdar took a swipe at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah previously stated that CAA regulations would be presented before the Lok Sabha, and we’ll adhere to our word. Everyone is fine with it except our CM Mamata Banerjee, who seems restless,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh raised concerns about the government’s procrastination in enforcing the regulations.

“Why was there such a delay? If postponement was necessary, why not wait until after the elections? Their (BJP) sole aim is to polarize every issue along religious lines,” he expressed.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav criticized the Centre for enacting the rules of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, calling it a BJP strategy to divert attention.

“When citizens struggle for livelihood, what’s the purpose of introducing a ‘citizenship law’ for others? The public now sees through BJP’s diversionary politics,” Yadav stated.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan denounced the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as a law that fosters communal division, affirming it will not be enforced in Kerala.

What is the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)?

The CAA changes the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who are Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, or Christians and arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014, fleeing religious persecution in their home countries.

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