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Scholar cites Adnan Sami getting citizenship to question CAA’s rationale

Under the provision to “extend citizenship” to a foreigner by registration as per the Citizenship Act of 1955, the government could grant citizenship to anyone, who had stayed in the country for seven years.

Social scientist Partha Chatterjee on Wednesday cited the case of musician Adnan Sami, who had been granted Indian citizenship well before the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), to contend that the new law was not really required to give citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of neighbouring countries.

Citizenship, he asserted, was given earlier using the Citizenship Act of 1955, which had a provision to “extend citizenship” to a foreigner by registration.

“Many got citizenship in the past because of the 1955 Act” Prof. Chatterjee said, speaking at a street protest in the city organised by a civil society platform, Joint Forum Against NRC. “Now the government is arguing that CAA [2019] is introduced to give citizenship to those who experienced religious persecution. This is a completely erroneous argument as Mr. Sami got his citizenship well before CAA was passed,” he added.

Under the provision to “extend citizenship” to a foreigner by registration as per the 1955 law, the government could grant citizenship to anyone, who had stayed in the country for seven years. Mr. Sami, a renowned musician who’s father was a Pakistani diplomat, submitted in May 2015 a request for Indian citizenship, which was granted with effect from January 2016.

Deconstructing the provisions of the 1955 law and reading it in conjunction with the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2003, Prof. Chatterjee said that “for the first time in the citizenship laws of the country, religion is introduced”.

“This is done clearly to identify Muslims as illegal citizens. Its process was started with the 2003 Amendment, when emphasis was given on illegal immigrants,” Prof. Chatterjee said. Blaming the opposition parties for giving the Bill a clear passage in the Rajya Sabha, he said thankfully the people had shown “alertness”.

“Now the leaders, the Opposition and the others are realizing the danger of passing such an Amendment and it would have not been possible without the alertness of the people who dragged the Opposition to the streets. Now the Opposition is waking up and four States passed resolutions against CAA,” Prof. Chatterjee said.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 10:11:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/scholar-cites-adnan-sami-getting-citizenship-to-question-caas-rationale/article30687444.ece

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