Citizenship Amendment Act – CAA Rules Officially Notified

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale  - Senior Editor
4 Min Read

The Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024, crucial for implementing the long-debated Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019, have been formally released by the Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This development comes just weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha 2024 elections.

Granting Citizenship: A Recap of CAA, 2019

The Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024, serve as the framework for granting Indian citizenship to refugees who sought shelter in the country before December 31, 2014, primarily due to religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. The Act, which faced delays and criticism for omitting Muslims, extends citizenship to individuals from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Christian, and Jain communities. However, applicants are required to submit six specific documents, including the date of their entry into India.

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Key Issues Addressed by CAA Implementation

In a recent report by NDTV, the Union government has outlined key issues that the implementation of CAA aims to resolve. The Act is expected to eliminate “legal barriers to rehabilitation and citizenship,” providing a dignified life to refugees who have endured persecution for decades, according to government sources.

Safeguarding Rights: Cultural, Linguistic, and Economic Aspects

Citizenship rights under the CAA are anticipated to safeguard the cultural, linguistic, and social identity of refugees, ensuring not only legal status but also economic, commercial, free movement, and property purchase rights. NDTV sources suggest that these provisions will contribute to a comprehensive improvement in the lives of the affected individuals.

Timeline of CAA Rules and Nationwide Protests

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 successfully navigated through Parliament in December 2019, receiving approval from both Lok Sabha on December 9, 2019, and Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019. President assent was granted promptly the next day. The legislation sparked nationwide protests in 2019-20, with women at the forefront of the demonstrations at Shaheen Bagh, which eventually concluded in March 2020 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government Clarifications and Opposition Criticism

Despite concerns surrounding religious bias, the government clarified that the CAA would not revoke the citizenship of any Indian citizen, regardless of religion. The rules are intended for those who have faced persecution for years and have found refuge in India with no alternative shelter worldwide, according to sources cited in the NDTV report.

However, on Monday, opposition parties, including the Congress, criticized the Centre for implementing the contentious CAA just ahead of the Lok Sabha 2024 polls. Allegations surfaced that the rules were strategically designed to polarize elections, particularly in West Bengal and Assam.

BJP’s Electoral Strategy and Prime Minister Modi’s Image

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) envisions electoral gains in West Bengal, where a substantial Hindu population migrated from Bangladesh is seeking citizenship rights. Analysts suggest that this move aims to reinforce Prime Minister Modi’s image as a “doer” and “decisive leader,” aligning with the BJP’s track record of fulfilling manifesto promises, including the implementation of CAA, during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

In 2019, the TMC won 22 seats, the BJP secured 18, and the Congress claimed two seats in West Bengal, setting the stage for a closely watched battleground in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

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