Seeking Citizenship Under CAA, But No Documents? Amit Shah Reply

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New Delhi:

Home Minister Amit Shah today said that the Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA currently does not have a provision for non-Muslim migrants who do not possess the required documents, but said the government will soon work on a way out for such refugees. The Centre on Monday notified the CAA to reduce the qualification period of application for citizenship from 11 to 5 years for persecuted migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

Anyone applying for Indian citizenship under the scheme will need to furnish two documents – one to prove they came from the eligible countries, and another to establish that they entered India before December 31, 2014.

In an interview with news agency ANI, Amit Shah said according to government estimates 85% of the people in India who are seeking to apply under the scheme have the required documents. But the government will soon find an alternative for those who do not have any documents, he asserted.

“We will find a way for those who do not have documents but those who have the documents constitute more than 85%. There is no time limit,” Mr Shah told ANI.

“One can take time to apply, the Government of India will call you for an interview as per the time available to you. The government will call you for the audit of the document and a face-to-face interview will be done,” he said when asked about how the process will work.

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.

Amit Shah strongly denies this and says the law is needed to help minorities facing persecution in Muslim-majority nations. The BJP leader also said that the constitution allows people from all religions and communities to seek Indian citizenship.

“Even Muslims have the right to apply for citizenship. The doors have not been closed for anyone,” the Home Minister said.  

Replying to the Opposition’s claim of the timing of bringing notification of CAA before the Lok Sabha elections, Amit Shah said there is “no question of political gain” as the main aim of the BJP is to provide rights and justice to persecuted minorities coming from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

“All opposition parties including Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee or Arvind Kejriwal are indulging in jhooth ki rajneeti (politics of lies) so the question of timing does not arise. BJP has made it clear in its 2019 manifesto that it will bring CAA and provide Indian citizenship to refugees (from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan). BJP has a clear agenda and under that promise, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in both houses of Parliament in 2019. It got delayed due to Covid. BJP had cleared its agenda well before the party got its mandate in the polls,” he said.

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