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Home South Asia 14 people are offered citizenship certificates for the first time under CAA

14 people are offered citizenship certificates for the first time under CAA

India: The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was enacted in December 2019 to grant Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

The first set of citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was issued to 14 people today, nearly two months after the Centre notified it, initiating the process of granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Under the CAA, the qualification period for citizenship application has been reduced from 11 to 5 years for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from these countries who came to India before December 31, 2014.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla handed over the citizenship certificates to the applicants in Delhi and highlighted the salient features of the CAA. Secretary Posts, Director (IB), Registrar General of India, and senior officers were also present during the interactive session.

The CAA was enacted in December 2019 to grant Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians. The Act received the president’s assent, but the rules under which Indian citizenship would be granted were issued only on March 11 this year, after over a four-year delay. The ruling BJP, which committed to enacting the Citizenship Amendment Bill in its 2019 manifesto, said the implementation was delayed due to the pandemic.

The notification drew sharp criticism from the opposition, which termed the move discriminatory and motivated by the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Centre, however, has maintained that the CAA “does not prevent any persecuted Muslim, practicing their version of Islam, from applying for Indian citizenship under the existing laws.” Several parts of the country witnessed protests against the decision to implement the CAA, as some fear the law could be used to declare them illegal immigrants and strip them of their Indian citizenship.

The government denies this and says the law is needed to help minorities facing persecution in Muslim-majority nations, reflecting the “evergreen generous culture of India” to grant Indian citizenship for a happy and prosperous future.

“No Indian citizen would be asked to produce any document to prove citizenship,” the Ministry of Home Affairs, headed by Amit Shah, had said, adding that the Citizenship Act doesn’t deal with the deportation of illegal immigrants.

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