National

CAA Becomes Reality Four Years After It Was Passed; No Passport Or Visa Required For Applicants Under New Guidelines

The Centre on Monday announced the official implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, just ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls. CAA was also a significant part of BJP’s 2019 electoral pitch.

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Anti-CAA protests Photo: Getty Images
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The Citizenship Amendment Act, which ignited widespread protests across the country, has now become a reality, four years after it was passed in the Parliament.

In December 2019, the CAA was passed with an overwhelming majority of 311:80 despite criticism that it undermined India's secular constitution. Under the act, undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan will have their path to Indian citizenship expedited.

However, opposition leaders and protestors condemned the act for excluding Muslims, fearing that when combined with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), it would leave Muslims stateless if they failed to provide necessary documents. Further, petitions challenging the CAA at the Supreme Court argue that it violates Article 14 of the Constitution which says that "the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of laws within the territory of India."

The Centre on Monday announced the official implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, just ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls. CAA was also a significant part of BJP’s 2019 electoral pitch.

Opposition leaders have hit out at BJP for the move, alleging that the timing of the implementation was “evidently designed to polarise the elections.”

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “The time taken to notify the rules for the CAA is yet another demonstration of the Prime Minister's blatant lies.”

While West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee called it “BJP's publicity for elections” and said if people were deprived of their rights under the rules then she would fight against it. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan condemned the act calling it an attempt “ to divide the people, incite communal sentiments”.

“This amounts to defining Indian citizenship on the basis of religion. It is an open challenge to humanity, the nation’s secular tradition and its people,” he said.

Under the new guidelines, applicants need not provide a passport or visa as proof of citizenship. Instead, an educational institution certificate, birth certificate, “identity document of any kind”, “any licence or certificate”, “land or tenancy records”, or “any other document” issued by these countries, which proves the applicant was their citizen, would suffice as proof of their nationality.

Anti-CAA protests had rocked the country in 2019 with Assam being the first state to start the protests. In 2020, Outlook looked at how protesting groups opposed the CAA, fearing it would reduce the indigenous Assamese population by granting citizenship to Hindu Bengali migrants from Bangladesh.

Outlook also looked at how the Shaheen Bagh protest which lasted more than a 100 days became the voice of resistance and dissidence.

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