CAA rules expected to seek ‘proof of religion’

People protesting in solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia outside the university earlier this week.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) rules are expected to seek “proof of religion” as mentioned in government records, a senior official of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Monday.

The draft CAA, 2019, rules are likely to seek documents from applicants that they entered India before December 31, 2014 and that they belong to the six religions exempted under the Act.

The Assam government had requested the MHA to impose a three-month time limit to apply under the CAA and not keep it “open-ended”.

“Any of the applicants living in India before 2014 will have some government document or the other where they would have mentioned their religion, they will have to submit this as proof,” said the official.

The CAA has the provision to grant citizenship to members of six undocumented minority communities — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India before December 31, 2014.

Though the Act does not mention “persecuted minorities”, the term was included in the statement of objects when the Bill was introduced in Parliament.

Also read | We the people: how the country is reclaiming democracy, one symbol at a time

Many Opposition members had raised objection on how it will be proved if an applicant indeed was persecuted on religious grounds in the neighbouring countries.

The official said the States would have no role in implementation of the CAA, as citizenship was the domain of the Centre. “The only hiccup will come during the verification stage when the role of local police comes into play, even that can be conducted by central agencies,” added the official.

The West Bengal Legislative Assembly on Monday passed a resolution opposing the CAA. The Rajasthan, Kerala and Punjab Assemblies had passed a similar resolution. Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh wrote an open letter on January 3 that the CAA could be misused for infiltration in the country as “any person claiming to be of the six religions could simply apply in terms of the amended law, prove entry on/before the cut off date and be eligible for citizenship.”

An official said that all applications under the CAA would have to be made online and the final decision to grant citizenship rested with the MHA

Several groups in Assam have opposed the CAA as it ‘violates’ the provision of the 1985 Assam Accord that called for “detection and deportation” of all persons who entered the State from Bangladesh post March 24, 1971.

The Supreme Court-monitored Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC), published on August 31 last, which excluded 19 lakh of the 3.4 crore applicants, was a fallout of the Assam Accord.

The CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11. The MHA notified that the provisions would come into force from January 10. The rules that will govern the Act are still under construction and yet to be notified by the Ministry.

Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 12:30:08 PM |

Next Story