Citizenship Amendment Act – Does CAA Put Any Restrictions On Muslim Migrants? What Government Said

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Does CAA Put Any Restrictions On Muslim Migrants? What Government Said

The Centre on Monday notified the rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

New Delhi:

The government today reiterated that the newly-implemented Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA doesn’t curtail the freedom and opportunity of Indian Muslims amid sharp criticism from the opposition, which terms the move as discriminatory and motivated by the approaching Lok Sabha elections. It also asserted that there is no bar on Muslims from anywhere in the world to seek Indian citizenship.

“Muslims from anywhere in the world can seek Indian citizenship under Section 6 of the Citizenship Act, which deals with citizenship by naturalisation,” the Home Ministry said.

The Centre on Monday notified the rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to reduce the qualification period of application for citizenship from 11 to 5 years for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

The Ministry of Home Affairs headed by Amit Shah insisted that the Act “does not prevent any Muslim, who is persecuted in those Islamic countries (Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan) for practising their version of Islam, from applying for Indian citizenship under the existing laws”.

“CAA does not cancel the naturalisation laws. Therefore, any person including the Muslim migrants from any foreign country, seeking to be an Indian citizen, can apply for the same under the existing laws,” the ministry said.

Indian Muslims need not worry as CAA has not made any provision to impact their citizenship and has nothing to do with the present 18 crore Indian Muslims, who have equal rights like their Hindu counterparts, the ministry said, seeking to allay fears of a section of Muslims regarding the CAA.

Protests have erupted in several parts of the country against the decision to implement CAA as some fear the law could be used to declare them illegal immigrants and take away their Indian citizenship.

The government denies this and says the law is needed to help minorities facing persecution in Muslim-majority nations as per the “evergreen generous culture of India to get Indian citizenship for their happy and prosperous future”.

“No Indian citizen would be asked to produce any document to prove citizenship”, the ministry said.

It also said that the Citizenship Act doesn’t deal with the deportation of illegal immigrants. “Therefore, the concern of a section of the people including Muslims and students that CAA is against Muslim minorities is unjustifiable,” it added.

The government said due to the persecution of minorities in these three countries, Islam had been badly tarnished across the world. “However, Islam, being a peaceful religion, never preaches or suggests hatred/violence/any persecution on religious grounds. This Act, showing compassion and compensation for the persecution, protects Islam from being tarnished in the name of persecution,” it said in a statement.

Explaining the need for the law, the ministry said to customise the citizenship system and control the illegal migrants, there was a need for this Act.

The Constitution of India grants the government the right to provide citizenship from a humanitarian perspective to refugees who faced religious persecution in their countries.

The law has been implemented four years after the controversial law was passed. The ruling BJP, which committed to enacting the Citizenship Amendment Bill in its 2019 manifesto, said the implementation was delayed due to the pandemic.

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