Rules of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will be framed by March 2024, Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra said on Sunday. Addressing a gathering in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, Mr. Mishra tried to allay fears of the Matua community over the delay in framing rules of the CAA and said the Act passed by the Parliament in December 2019 ensured that members of the community had become citizens.
“You will get the full rights of citizenship. In the absence of proper documents, no action can be initiated against you. This we have included in the Act,” the Minister told the gathering. As per his latest information, the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation in the Lok Sabha had fixed time till January 9, 2024 while the committee in the Rajya Sabha had fixed a time of March 30, 2024 for framing the CAA rules.
The Minister’s remarks assume significance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The delay of framing CAA rules had irked a section of Matuas, including even the MLAs from the community representing the BJP. After the 2019 polls, a number of BJP leaders have been trying to allay the fears of Matuas regarding delay in the implementation of the CAA. Earlier this year, the Home Ministry was granted an extension for the seventh time to frame the rules for the CAA.
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“We are hopeful that the rules of the CAA will be framed by then. In case there are issues, some more time may be required. The CAA has been implemented in the country. It is the promise and commitment of the Government of India to provide [you] citizenship,” Mr. Mishra said. He was joined by Minister of State for Shipping and Bongaon BJP MP Santanu Thakur at the event.
Mr. Thakur, a descendent of the founders of Matua sect, had won the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Bongaon on the promise of providing citizenship to the members of the community. Matuas, a community comprising Hindu Namasudras, many of whom have migrated from Bangladesh (East Pakistan earlier), will be the deciding factor in large parts of south Bengal during the coming Lok Sabha polls and the issue of rules of the CAA remains crucial to their support.
The Trinamool Congress leadership, including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has been claiming that the CAA was a farce as everyone residing in the State was a citizen.