• Saturday, May 18, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Amid general polls, India starts issuing citizenship papers under CAA

Indian home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla handed over the citizenship certificates to the recipients. The CAA eyes giving Indian citizenship to minorities from Muslim nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who reached India on or before December 2014.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (L) waves to supporters next to India’s Home Minister Amit Shah after filing his nomination papers to recontest the parliamentary seat in Varanasi in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on May 14, 2024, during the country’s ongoing general election. (Photo by NIHARIKA KULKARNI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AMID criticism from the opposition and in the middle of the general elections, the Narendra Modi government of India on Wednesday (15) issued the inaugural set of citizenship certificates under the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA.

Speaking to Asian News International, home minister Amit Shah, the second most powerful leader of the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party after prime minister Modi, said 300 people were being given citizenship under CAA in New Delhi on Wednesday (15). He called the CAA “country’s law”.

He also took a dig at Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the eastern state of West Bengal and vehement critic of Modi, at an election rally in her state the same day saying she could never stop the implementation of the CAA, adding that the issue of citizenship lies with the federal government.

Read: US senator expresses concern over India’s CAA law, its impact on Muslim citizens

A few days ago, PM Modi also said at a rally in the state that he will not allow anyone to repeal CAA as long as he in power, taking a dig at Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress which has opposed the law throughout.

Read: India rejects US concerns over CAA, calls its remark ‘misplaced, misinformed’

Indian home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla (extreme left) hands over the first set of citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), in New Delhi.
Indian home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla (extreme left) hands over the first set of citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), in New Delhi, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (PTI Photo)

Indian home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla handed over the citizenship certificates to the recipients after their applications were processed online through a designated portal, an official spokesperson said, according to the Times of India.

Congratulating the applicants, Bhalla highlighted the salient features of the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024, which was notified by the home affairs ministry on March 11. It paved the way for the operationalisation of the CAA, which was passed by the Indian parliament in December 2019. It got delayed by more than four years because of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and widespread protests staged by the opposition across the country against its implementation.

The CAA removes obstacles for acquiring Indian citizenship for communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the three Muslim countries of South Asia — Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who arrived in India on or before 31 December 2014.

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