What is CAA, the law which led to massive protests in 2019?

The Citizenship Act was amended in 2019 to make it easier for non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to seek citizenship in India

Written By Sharmila Bhadoria
Updated11 Mar 2024
The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 sparked a massive protests from December 2019 to February 2020
The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 sparked a massive protests from December 2019 to February 2020

Weeks after the Union Home Minister Amit Shah's assurance of implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 before Lok Sabha polls, the central government notified the CAA-19 rules on Monday. 

With the implementation of the CAA, non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan can easily get Indian citizenship. The law applies to all the people who came from the three countries on and before December 31, 2014.

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What is CAA?

The Citizenship Act of 1955 was amended in 2019 (which is known as CAA-19) to provide a path to Indian citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and Parsis who are the victims of religious persecution or lived in fear or religious persecution.

Under the 2019 amendment of the act, migrants who entered India on December 31, 2014, and had suffered “religious persecution or fear or religious persecution” in their country of origin would be made eligible for accelerated citizenship.

The amendment in the Citizenship Act in 2019 has made the process of applying for citizenship easier for non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to get Indian citizenship. The CAA-19 has reduced the residence requirement for the naturalisation of eligible migrants from twelve years to just six. Nearly 30,000 people are likely to benefit from the CAA rules, according to an Intelligence Bureau report on CAA.

Where CAA is not implemented in India?

The CAA will not be implemented in the region mentioned under the Sixth Schedule ( Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram) of the Indian Constitution. Areas covered by the Inner Line Permit system (ILP) are also excluded from CAA law.  The exclusion would ensure the safeguarding of the interests of the tribal and indigenous communities in the North-Eastern region. People living in this area won't be able to apply for citizenship under CAA-2019.

Anti-CAA protests

Soon after the CAA was passed by the Parliament on December 11, 2019, and was notified in the same year, there was a massive protest against the amendment in several parts of the country. Anti-CAA protests began in December 2019 and lasted till nearly February 2020. The anti-CAA protests began in Assam and spread like fire in other states like Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Delhi, etc. Protests from different parts of the country opposed different aspects of the CAA. The protest led to thousands of arrests and several deaths in the country. The implementation of CAA has raised the fear of the re-emergence of anti-CAA protests. Multiple organisations have announced to protest against CAA implementation. Soon after the release of the notification of CAA on Monday, protests erupted across Assam with opposition criticising the BJP government at the centre for the move.

 

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