Rajat Sharma


akb0712The Union Home Ministry on Monday notified the rules for the amended Citizenship Act, four years after it was enacted to fast-track granting of citizenship to non-Muslims who entered India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 31, 2014. The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by Parliament in 2019 and was signed by the President, but due to Covid epidemic, the rules could not be notified. Home Minister Amit Shah had promised in West Bengal that CAA rules would be notified before the Lok Sabha elections. Soon after the rules were notified, several Muslim organisations protested, with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi describing it as a poll gimmick. On Monday, Home Minister Amit Shah posted the 39 page notification on social media. The rules are quite elaborate. Soon after, there were celebrations among Matua Hindus in West Bengal who had migrated from Bangladesh due to persecution. The Matua community members had been seeking Indian citizenship since several decades. Since they were not Indian citizens, they were not getting the benefit of government schemes. State BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari said, nearly two and a half crore Hindus living in West Bengal are elated over this measure. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee described it as a political gimmick, and added that she would react only after going through the full notification. CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim alleged that there was a “secret deal” when Mamata called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Raj Bhavan last week. He described CAA as BJP’s “election card” in Bengal. AIMIM chief Owaisi described CAA as anti-Constitutional. He said, “one must look at CAA in association with NRC (National Register of Citizens) and NPR (National Population Register. Home Minister Amit Shah said in Parliament that NRC and NPR will be implemented…it’s on record. Their (BJP) main aim is to implement NPR and NRC in the country.” Since Shaheen Bagh in Delhi was the spot where Muslim women had staged dharna for several months against CAA in 2019, police forces were deployed on Monday night in Shaheen Bagh and North-east Delhi. Police in Uttar Pradesh and Assam have also been put on full alert. Muslim scholar in Lucknow Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangimahali appealed to Muslims not to over-react, and form their opinion only after going through the CAA notification. The main question that is being raised is why CAA has been notified four years after it became law? Whether it has any connection with the Lok Sabha elections? I would say, it has a connection with elections. When leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and Owaisi will oppose CAA, it will benefit the BJP. Whenever attempts will be made to create fear in the minds of Muslims, naturally BJP will be the beneficiary. But I think, instead of going through electoral advantages and disadvantages, once should go through the rules. It is necessary to tell Muslim brothers and sisters about the ground reality. Firstly, CAA is not related to people who are already Indian citizens. No Indian citizen would lose his or her citizenship. This law is meant to help those minorities who had been facing persecution at the hands of Muslim majority in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. This law is meant for Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and Parsees who came to India before December 31, 2024 from these three neighbouring countries. They can get Indian citizenship. This law will not affect any Muslim or non-Muslim Indian’s citizenship. No questions will be raised about their citizenship. No documents will be demanded from them to prove their citizenship. All such fears are baseless. CAA is a law that only grants citizenship. Nobody needs to be worried about this law. Since elections are near, most of the leaders and Maulanas may try to create a sense of fear, but there is no need to panic, nor should anybody fear. Everybody must be on alert.

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