‘I guarantee CAA will be implemented in every state of India within 7 days,’ says union minister Shantanu Thakur. With this statement, a wave of controversy erupted.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah also stated during the ET Now-Global Business summit in Delhi that “CAA is an Act of the country, it will be definitely be notified…It will be notified before the polls…There should be no confusion around it”.
Some politicians, especially Mamta Banerjee, opposed this statement and labeled this announcement as an act to get votes. She claimed that she won’t let this happen till she is alive.
Earlier in 2019, the CAA enactment ignited many large-scale, destructive protests nationwide. The demonstrations in Shaheen Bagh and Assam were very violent, and the state must fear the recurrence of such demonstrations or any worse conditions.
What is the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019?
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, popularly known as the CAA, has been debated and discussed since its enactment. It was passed in December 2019 by the Indian Parliament. This act seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955, introducing changes to the criteria for acquiring Indian citizenship.
The primary objective of the CAA, as stated by its supporters, is to provide a fast-track pathway to Indian citizenship for persecuted minorities facing religious discrimination in neighboring Muslim-majority countries. The act will give citizenship to “persecuted non-Muslims who immigrated to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.”
This category includes Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from these countries who entered India before December 31, 2014, and are eligible for citizenship. The CAA amends the definition of an “illegal immigrant” by excluding specific groups from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The act reduces the mandatory residency period for naturalization from 11 years to 5 years for the specified religious communities.
Controversies Surrounding the CAA:
1. Exclusion of Muslims:
One of the main criticisms of this act is that if this act is for minorities, why does it exclude Muslims from its provisions? If this act is founded for the rights of immigrants who were discriminated against and persecuted based on religion. Why does it not include Rohingyas from Buddhist Myanmar and Tibetian Buddhists?
2. Impact on Secularism and Protests:
The country has already witnessed its reaction when it was enacted in 2019, and many deaths were recorded. After the construction of Ayodhya Ram Mandir, India has again seen many riots in various areas. If CAA is brought into force, India will witness many riots, destruction, and deaths again for sure! Critics argue that the CAA violates the secular principles written in the Indian Constitution by favoring certain religious groups over others. The government contends that the CAA is a humanitarian measure to relieve persecuted minorities, especially in neighboring countries.
3. Linkage with the National Register of Citizens (NRC):
Various people also fear that the CAA may be used in connection with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to target and marginalize Muslim communities, which has fueled widespread protests.
Why Is It Not Implemented?
At this point, we all must be wondering: if it was passed in 2019, why is it yet to be implemented even after four years? And why this dead matter is being taken up again? The answer is complex yet very straight. CAA offers no such benefits to anyone, and it is just propaganda for votes from the Hindu majority. All these minorities already have the national ID “Adhaar Card” and are getting all the benefits offered by the government to its citizens.
The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 has started debates on various fronts, touching upon religion, secularism, and national identity issues. While supporters emphasize its humanitarian intent, critics express fears about its potential to undermine the foundation of India’s democratic and secular principles.
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