Govt Rolls Out CAA, 14 People Get Citizenship

NEW DELHI: Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Wednesday symbolically handed over the first set of citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to 14 applicants in the national capital, nearly two months after rules under the contentious law were notified to grant Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from three neighbouring countries. According to the home ministry spokesperson, besides the physical certificates, digitally signed certificates are also being issued to a "few hundred" other applicants through email.

Describing it as a “historic day”, Union home minister Amit Shah said that the decades-long wait for those who faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan is over.

Mr Shah said that the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian brothers and sisters who fled religious persecution in the three countries have started getting Indian citizenship and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled the promise made at the time of the country's independence.

"I express my gratitude to Modi Ji for giving justice and rights to these people who suffered for decades. I also assure all my refugee brothers and sisters that the Modi government will give citizenship to all of them through the CAA," he posted on X in Hindi, adding, "Modi's guarantee...The guarantee of fulfilling promises."

While physically handing over the citizenship certificates, the home secretary congratulated the 14 applicants and highlighted the salient features of the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024. According to the ministry spokesperson, the beneficiaries had applied through the designated portal online.

This handing over of the citizenship certificates comes in the midst of the ongoing general election, which started on April 19. The last phase of polling will be held on June 1, while the counting will take place on June 4.

The CAA was enacted in December 2019 to grant Indian nationality to persecuted Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

After the enactment, the CAA got the President's assent, but the rules under which Indian citizenship was granted were issued on March 11, this year, after over a four-year delay.

The CAA rules envisage the manner of the application form, the procedure for processing applications by the district-level committee (DLC), and the scrutiny and grant of citizenship by the state-level empowered committee (SLEC).

"In pursuance of these rules, applications have been received from persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who entered India up to December 31, 2014 on account of persecution on grounds of religion or fear of such persecution," the home ministry spokesperson said.

The passing of the CAA in 2019 sparked protests in different parts of the country, with agitators terming it "discriminatory". Over a hundred people lost their lives during the anti-CAA protests or police action in various parts of the country.

Mr Shah has been maintaining that no one can stop the implementation of the CAA as it is the law of the land. He accused the Opposition of misleading the people on the issue.

At the handing over of the certificates event, the secretary posts, director of the Intelligence Bureau and Registrar General of India, along with other senior officers, were also present.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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