Centre begins granting citizenship under CAA in West Bengal, Haryana, Uttarakhand

Under CAA, citizenship has been granted in West Bengal, Haryana, and Uttarakhand. The first set of citizenship certificates was given to applicants in New Delhi on May 15.

Livemint
Updated29 May 2024
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with Pakistani refugees who got Indian citizenship under CAA, during a public meeting for the Lok Sabha elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with Pakistani refugees who got Indian citizenship under CAA, during a public meeting for the Lok Sabha elections(BJP )

Centre has begun granting citizenship under the CAA in three states, the Union Home Ministry said on Wednesday.

According to a ministry's statement, the CAA applicants in West Bengal, Haryana, and Uttarakhand were granted citizenship by the respective State Empowered Committee.

On May 15, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla handed the first set of citizenship certificates to the applicants in New Delhi after the notification of the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024.

Also read: India issues first set of citizenship certificates under new CAA rules, 14 get Indian nationality

Citizenship certificates were “physically handed over to 14 applicants in Delhi" on May 15. “Digitally signed certificates are being issued to many other applicants through email," the government had said.

Also read: BJP treads cautiously in Assam's Silchar, keeps contentious CAA issue at bay

What are the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules?

The Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024 (CAA) was enacted in December 2019. Under this Act, the government decided to grant Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014. These include Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians.

After the enactment, the CAA got the president's assent, but the rules under which the Indian citizenship was granted were issued only this year after over a four-year delay.

Also read: 'Koi maai ka laal paida hua hai jo...': PM Modi blasts INDIA bloc over 'will remove' CAA remark

Centre had notified the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024 on March 11, 2024. “In pursuance of these rules, applications have been received from persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have entered into India up to 31.12.2014 on account of persecution on the grounds of religion or fear of such persecution," the home ministry said.

Protests erupted over CAA

When it was first introduced in 2019, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was later passed by Parliament, triggered massive uproar across the country.

Also read: TMC releases manifesto for Lok Sabha elections 2024, vows to scrap CAA, NRC: Top 10 promises by Mamata Banerjee's party

Critics and Muslim groups protested against the CAA while claiming that the citizenship law would protect non-Muslims who are excluded from the register. At the same time, Muslims could face deportation or internment.

Many believed that the government could use the law, combined with a proposed citizenship registry, to marginalize Muslims. However, political leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, had assured that "no one will face any inconvenience and difficulty. You will get both citizenship and respect in the country."

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