CAA gets rolling, first set of 14 people granted citizenship

Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla handed over the certificates to the 14 people after their applications were processed.

ByPTI

Published May 15, 2024 | 7:38 PMUpdatedMay 15, 2024 | 7:38 PM

Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla handing over citizenship certificate.

The first set of citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was issued Wednesday, 15 May, in New Delhi to 14 people, nearly two months after rules under the contentious law were notified to grant Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from three neighbouring countries.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah termed it a “historic day”, saying the decades-long wait of those who faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan is over.

Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla handed over the certificates to the 14 people after their applications were processed online through a designated portal, an official spokesperson said.

This comes in the midst of the general elections which started on 19 April. The last phase of polling will be held on 1 June while the counting will take place on 4 June.

Also Read: Congress showing same mindset as Sangh Parivar and BJP, hence silent on CAA: CPI(M)

Enactment of CAA

The CAA was enacted in December 2019 to grant Indian nationality to persecuted Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before 31 December, 2014.

After the enactment, the CAA got the president’s assent but the rules under which the Indian citizenship was granted were issued on March 11 this year after over a delay of four years.

While granting the citizenship certificates, the home secretary congratulated the

14 applicants and highlighted the salient features of the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024.

Secretary Posts, Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Registrar General of India and senior officers were also present during the interactive session when the certificates were issued.

Home Minister Shah said the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian brothers and sisters who fled religious persecution in the three countries have started getting Indian citizenship and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled the promise made at the time of the country’s independence.

“I express my gratitude to Modiji for giving justice and rights to these people who suffered for decades. I also assure all my refugee brothers and sisters that the Modi government will give citizenship to all of them through the CAA,” he said on X in Hindi. “Modi’s guarantee…the guarantee of fulfilling promises.”

Also Read: No CAA, NRC in Telangana, asserts Minister Uttam Kumar Reddy

Rules of CAA

The CAA rules envisage the manner of application form, procedure for processing applications by the District Level Committee (DLC), scrutiny and grant of citizenship by State Level Empowered Committee (SLEC).

“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 India up to 31 December, 2014 on account of persecution on grounds of religion or fear of such persecution,” the spokesperson said.

The DLCs chaired by Senior Superintendents of Post or Superintendents of Post as designated officers, on successful verification of documents, have administered the oath of allegiance to the applicants.

After processing as per rules, the DLCs have forwarded the applications to SLEC headed by the Director (Census Operation). Processing of applications is completely done through the online portal.

The empowered committee, Delhi, headed by the Director (Census Operation), Delhi, after due scrutiny, has decided to grant citizenship to 14 applicants. Accordingly, the Director (Census operation) granted certificates to these applicants, the spokesperson said.

The passing of the CAA in 2019 sparked protests in different parts of the country with agitators terming it “discriminatory”. Over a hundred people lost their lives during the anti-CAA protests or police action in various parts of the country.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been maintaining that no one can stop the implementation of the CAA as it is the law of the land. He accused the Opposition of misleading the people on the issue.

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