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May 15, 2024

“First Batch of Citizenship Certificates Granted Under CAA: 14 Individuals Receive Indian Nationality”

In a significant development, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla distributed citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 to the first 14 individuals in New Delhi. This marks the initiation of the process aimed at granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

The issuance of these certificates follows the completion of online application processing through a designated portal. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which was enacted in December 2019, saw its rules for granting citizenship being issued only on March 11 this year, after nearly four years of delay.

This development holds significance especially amidst the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, where the implementation of the Act is a crucial aspect of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto. The BJP has been vocal about its commitment to providing citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighboring countries, a move that has faced criticism from left-leaning Opposition parties who view it as discriminatory.

The distribution of these citizenship certificates serves as a tangible step towards fulfilling the promises made by the BJP during its election campaigns. The Act aims to provide relief to individuals who have faced persecution in their home countries on the basis of religion. By granting them Indian nationality, the government seeks to ensure their safety and well-being in India.

However, the implementation of the CAA has been met with criticism and controversy. Opposition parties have raised concerns about the exclusion of Muslims from the purview of the Act, labeling it as discriminatory and against the secular principles of the Indian Constitution. They argue that citizenship should not be granted on the basis of religion, and that the Act undermines the idea of India as a pluralistic and inclusive society.

Despite the opposition, the BJP has remained steadfast in its commitment to implementing the CAA. For the party, this move is not only a matter of policy but also a symbol of its stance on issues related to national security and religious persecution.

The distribution of citizenship certificates to the first batch of individuals represents a significant milestone in the implementation of the CAA. It not only provides legal recognition and security to those who have faced persecution but also sets the stage for further proceedings under the Act.

As the process continues, it is likely to remain a contentious issue, with debates around its implications for India’s secular fabric and the rights of minority communities dominating the political discourse. Nonetheless, for those who have received their citizenship certificates, it marks the beginning of a new chapter, offering them hope and a sense of belonging in their adopted homeland.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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