Government notifies CAA regulations, opposition decries it as a means to polarise voters

 The government officially issued a notification on March 12, bringing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) into effect in the run up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The move to notify the CAA comes four years after the CAA bill was passed by the Parliament in December 2019, which had been a decision that was met with protests from activists and opposition politicians.

Designed to speed the citizenship process for non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, the CAA fast-tracks the process of granting Indian citizenship specifically to people belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, and Christian communities. This process is granted to those who migrated and entered India prior to 2014. The Act has finally been notified after encountering numerous delays and criticism from opposition parties as well as widespread protests, all over the country in 2019 and 2020. It has also seen strong opposition in Assam.

According to an ANI report, the Home Ministry has stated that the process can be done completely online and eligible people can now submit their applications under the CAA. Officials have also clarified that no additional documentation would be required from applicants.

After the notification from the Home Ministry arrived, opposition politicians from across the country spoke out against the act, calling the government out. Trinamool Congress leader and chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Bannerjee was among the first opposition leaders to criticise and decry the news. She has stated that the government will be against discrimination, as per a report by NDTV, “If there is any discrimination, we won’t accept it. Be it religion, caste, or linguistics. They won’t be able to give citizenship to anyone in two days. This is just a lollipop and a show-off. After multiple extensions in four years, its implementation two to three days before the election announcement shows that it is being done for political reasons.”

DMK leader and chief minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin has also criticised the move, and took to X to state, “Union BJP Government’s divisive agenda has weaponised the Citizenship Act, turning it from a beacon of humanity to a tool of discrimination based on religion and race through the enactment of CAA. By betraying Muslims and Sri Lankan Tamils, they sowed seeds of division. Despite staunch opposition from democratic forces like DMK, the CAA was passed with the support of BJP’s stooge ADMK. Fearing backlash from the people, the BJP kept the act in cold storage.”

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh called the move motivated by election strategy on X as well, “After seeking nine extensions for the notification of the rules, the timing right before the elections is evidently designed to polarise the elections, especially in West Bengal and Assam.”

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has reportedly also filed a petition in the Supreme Court urging for an urgent stay on the CAA. According to the Deccan Herald, IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty stated that they will take the matter to court and argued that it was illegal to link citizenship with religion.

Meanwhile, news has arrived that Delhi Police and Paramilitary forces have been deployed across Delhi, especially in Muslim concentrated areas such as Seelampur, Shaheen Bagh and north east Delhi after the news of the enforcement of rules for the CAA arrived. North East DCP Joy Tirkey stated yesterday, “Arrangements have been put in place in the North East district. Drawing from our unpleasant experience in 2020, which led to significant losses, we have taken proactive measures. The rules are set to be notified today, and the Police Headquarters has provided timely alerts.” The police have also stated they are monitoring social media for any such inflammatory posts.

DCP Tirkey further disclosed that a meeting of the Aman Committee had been convened, where the police engaged with members of both communities. The DCP also told the media as per Mint news, “We have tagged the potential troublemakers and some known criminals. We are in touch with our beat constables and keeping an eye on social media too. We are doing a flag march for two days and will have an extensive flag march from Tuesday. Special care will be taken in sensitive areas through drones.”

Similarly, Assam which saw a strong movement against the CAA as well also saw preventive measures taken by police where about 16 opposition leaders were given a legal notice by the Assam police to retract their statements calling for a ‘sabartmak harta’, as per the Indian Express.



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