Amended Citizenship Rules Set for Implementation Next Month: Reports

New Delhi: The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is reportedly set to be implemented next month, according to sources familiar with the matter. The act, passed in 2019 amidst widespread protests, aims to grant citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who have settled in India.

Reports suggest that preparations are underway, with the Union Home Ministry conducting dry runs of the online registration portal. The CAA is anticipated to assist refugees from neighbouring countries who lack proper documentation, particularly those from Pakistan.

District authorities have already been empowered to grant long-term visas, considered a precursor to the CAA. In the past two years, numerous District Magistrates and Home Secretaries in nine states have been authorized to facilitate Indian citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from the specified nations.

Recent data from the Union Home Ministry’s annual report indicates that from April 2021 to December 2021, a total of 1,414 non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan were granted Indian citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The CAA has been a subject of controversy, with proponents arguing it provides refuge for persecuted minorities, while critics contend it discriminates against Muslims and undermines India’s secular principles. The act, along with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), sparked nationwide protests in 2019, before being stalled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the CAA’s implementation looms, the NRC, originally slated for nationwide rollout, remains suspended by the government following widespread opposition.

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