Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will be notified and implemented before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, terming it an “act of the country”. Shah emphasized that the law aims to provide citizenship and not “take away anyone’s citizenship.”
“The CAA is an act of the country…It will be notified before the polls. There should be no confusion about this. Minorities in our country, and especially our Muslim community, are being provoked… The CAA cannot take away anyone’s citizenship because there is no provision in the law. The CAA is a law to grant citizenship to refugees who were persecuted in Bangladesh and Pakistan,” Shah said while speaking at the ET Now-Global Business summit in Delhi.
Notably, ensuring implementation of the CAA, which was passed in Parliament on December 11, 2019, has been a major electoral agenda for the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections.
Shah further accused the previous Congress government of “backtracking” on the promise to implement the CAA in the country.
“The CAA was a promise of the Congress government. When the country was divided and minorities were persecuted in those countries, Congress had assured the refugees that they were welcome in India and would be granted Indian citizenship. Now they are backing down,” he said, quoted by news agency ANI.
What is the Citizenship Amendment Act?
The Citizenship Amendment Act, commonly known as CAA, was introduced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government. The law was aimed at conferring Indian nationality on persecuted non-Muslim migrants (including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians) who migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India up to December 31, 2014, due to “religious motivations.” persecution or fear of religious persecution.” However, it does not include Muslims or other communities who fled the same or neighboring regions. This sparked massive protests across the country.
Initially, protests began in Assam on December 4, 2019, after the CAA was introduced in Parliament. Demonstrations intensified across the country after the law was passed on December 11, 2019, with some areas witnessing violence. Protesters termed the CAA as “discriminatory” and an “attack on India’s secularism”. Several people reportedly lost their lives during protests or due to police action, while thousands of protesters were detained.