• Tuesday, May 21, 2024

INDIA

India makes CAA, a citizenship law, reality 4 years after clearing bill

The Indian government now can grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from other South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who reached India before 2015.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE Narendra Modi government of India made a massive move on Monday (11) when it issued a notification of the much debated Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), after more than four years since it was passed in the parliament amid violent protests in which more than 100 people died.

The legislation, which makes religion a test of citizenship, has also faced strong resistance from parties opposed to prime minister Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal bordering the Muslim-majority Bangladesh, has been particularly vocal against the federal government’s move.

With the notification being issued, the Indian government now can grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from other South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who reached India before 2015.

Read: What is India’s CAA law and who will be impacted?

The Act’s implementation comes weeks before the general elections in which Modi and his BJP aim to secure their third consecutive term in power. The CAA was a major campaign platform for the BJP in the 2019 elections and those in various states.

Indian home minister Amit Shah said the CAA will allow minorities who have been persecuted on religious grounds in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to acquire the Indian citizenship.

He also praised prime minister Modi saying the latter “delivered on another commitment and realised the promise of the makers of our (Indian) constitution to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians living in those countries”.

The notification also comes less than a month after Indian home minister Amit Shah said that the CAA will be implemented before this year’s election.

“CAA is an act of the country… it will definitely be notified. CAA will come into effect before the election (and) nobody should be confused about this.”

Mamata Banerjee strongly reacts

Banerjee, who leads the Trinamool Congress and is often accused of appeasing the minority Muslim community, reacted almost immediately against the notification, saying in a quickly arranged press meeting that her government will oppose “anything that discriminates (against) people”.

Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of eastern Indian state of West Bengal
Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of eastern Indian state of West Bengal (ANI Photo)

She also said the CAA and the NRC, or National Register of Citizens, were sensitive topics in the border state and the northeastern parts and that she does not want unrest before the election.

She has accused the BJP in the past of raking up the CAA issue at this time for votes.

“With elections approaching, BJP has again raked up CAA issue to reap political benefits. But let me make it clear, as long as I am alive, I will not allow it in Bengal,” Banerjee added.

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