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Citizenship Amendment Act Notified, Weeks Before India General Elections

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on March 12, 2024, 08:43:21

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India, prime minister, CAA, Narendra Modi, citizenship amendment act, parliament, lokshabha

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Indian government on Monday implemented the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), five years after it was passed in Parliament. The notification comes ahead of the announcement of dates for the Lok Sabha elections by the Election Commission of India.

The applications will be submitted in online mode for which a web portal has been provided.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah lauded the notification of Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024 and said its implementation would enable minorities persecuted on religious grounds in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to acquire citizenship in India.

"With this notification PM Shri @narendramodi Ji has delivered on another commitment and realised the promise of the makers of our constitution to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians living in those countries," the Home Minister said in a tweet.

Last month, Amit Shah said that the CAA will be implemented before the Lok Sabha elections this year after issuing the rules in this regard.

The CAA, enacted by Parliament on December 11, 2019, has been a subject of intense debate and widespread protests across India.

The CAA amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to provide a fast-track pathway to Indian citizenship for migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who belong to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian communities and who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, due to facing religious persecution in their home countries.

There were sit-ins at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh and protest gatherings in Guwahati, Assam. All the protests fizzled out during the Covid-induced restrictions and lockdowns.

After the government's notification, the Delhi Police has amped up security in and around the Shaheen Bagh area, which was the epicentre of the anti-CAA protests last time. Besides, the Gautam Buddh Nagar Police also conducted a flag march in Noida, following Centre's announcement.

"As per the directions given by the CM, we are conducting foot patrolling at populated and sensitive areas. Through this, we are trying to assure people that we are with them," Joint Commissioner Shivhari Meena told news agency PTI.

Meanwhile, the Congress questioned the timing of the government's notification, saying it had been done to "polarise the elections".

"It has taken four years and three months for the Modi Government to notify the rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act that was passed by the Parliament in December 2019. The Prime Minister claims that his government works in a business-like and time-bound manner. The time taken to notify the rules for the CAA is yet another demonstration of the Prime Minister’s blatant lies," Congress's Communications In-charge Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X.

"After seeking nine extensions for the notification of the rules, the timing right before the elections is evidently designed to polarise the elections, especially in West Bengal and Assam. It also appears to be an attempt to manage the headlines after the Supreme Court’s severe strictures on the Electoral Bonds Scandal," he added.

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