Citizenship Law CAA Likely To Become Reality four years after the Bill was passed

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On Monday, the Centre officially enforced the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), marking the culmination of a five-year journey since its passage in Parliament. This development precedes the imminent announcement of Lok Sabha election dates by the Election Commission of India.

In the preceding month, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had affirmed the implementation of the CAA before this year’s Lok Sabha elections, following the issuance of pertinent rules.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, enacted on December 11, 2019, has been a contentious topic, sparking widespread debates and protests across India. The legislation amends the Citizenship Act of 1955, offering an expedited route to Indian citizenship for migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Eligible individuals belong to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian communities and entered India on or before December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution in their home countries.

Protests, notably at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and gatherings in Guwahati, Assam, lost momentum during the Covid-induced restrictions and lockdowns.

Simultaneously, the Congress party questioned the government’s timing in issuing the notification, accusing it of attempting to “polarize the elections.”

“After four years and three months, the Modi Government has finally notified the rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament in December 2019. The Prime Minister’s claims of a business-like and time-bound government are contradicted by the delayed notification of CAA rules, yet another instance of the Prime Minister’s false assertions,” remarked Jairam Ramesh, Congress’s Communications In-charge, in a post on X.

He further expressed skepticism about the timing, stating, “After seeking nine extensions for the notification of the rules, the timing right before the elections is evidently designed to polarize the elections, especially in West Bengal and Assam. It also appears to be an attempt to manage the headlines after the Supreme Court’s severe strictures on the Electoral Bonds Scandal.”

The government contends that the Citizenship Amendment Act aims to facilitate citizenship for minorities from Muslim-dominated countries who fled due to religious persecution. Critics, however, argue that the legislation is crafted to discriminate against Muslims and contravenes the secular principles enshrined in the Constitution.

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