Set citizenship deadline: Assam

Himanta Biswa Sarma

Himanta Biswa Sarma  

State urges Centre to impose a three-month window for applications under CAA

The Assam government has requested the Union Home Ministry to impose a three-month time limit to apply under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, and not keep it “open ended”.

A government source said since the CAA rules are yet to be framed, the Assam government has asked the Centre to consider relaxing the norms and introducing a three-month period, beyond which no one could benefit under the Act.

CAA has the provision to grant citizenship to members of six undocumented minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India before December 31, 2014. 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 year, which excluded 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants, was a fallout of the Assam Accord.

The All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU), a signatory to the Assam Accord, had earlier said the CAA was “communal, a protector of illegal Bangladeshis and against the Constitution.”

“They [the Centre] could keep the window to apply under CAA open for a year in West Bengal, as there are more people who would benefit. In Assam, the beneficiaries are fewer, so we have requested a three-month limit,” said the source.

The CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11. 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 MHA. The Hindu had earlier reported that the MHA was deliberating whether or not Assam-specific rules can be incorporated.

Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters on Thursday that the situation was under control in Assam.

“There are agitations against the CAA. The government is undertaking outreach programmes to explain the provisions of the Act,” he said.

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