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May 17, 2024

Tripura Government Forms Committee to Grant Citizenship under CAA

The Tripura government has established a six-member state-level empowered committee to oversee the process of granting citizenship under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (CAA). This initiative is spearheaded by the Director of Census Operations, who serves as the chairman of the committee, as confirmed by an official on Friday.

Enacted in December 2019, the CAA aims to provide Indian nationality to persecuted religious minorities—Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians—from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. The formation of the state-level committee follows directives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, emphasizing the importance of a structured and transparent process for citizenship applications.

Rabindra Reang, Director of Census Operations, highlighted the procedural framework established for the implementation of the CAA in Tripura. He stated that all District Magistrates in the state have been instructed to set up district-level empowered committees. These committees are responsible for receiving and scrutinizing applications before forwarding them to the state-level panel for final consideration.

Reang clarified that residents living in areas governed by the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution—specifically, the Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council—are not eligible to apply for citizenship under the CAA. This exclusion is significant given the unique administrative and legal frameworks governing these regions, which are designed to protect indigenous populations and their lands.

The eligibility criteria for applying under the CAA are specific: applicants must have sought refuge in India due to religious persecution from Bangladesh, Pakistan, or Afghanistan and must reside in non-Sixth Schedule areas. These areas include urban and semi-urban jurisdictions such as the Agartala Municipal Corporation, various municipalities, nagar panchayats, and gram panchayats.

Reang emphasized the procedural steps for applicants: individuals seeking Indian citizenship must first submit their applications to the district-level committee. After a thorough scrutiny process, the district-level panel will forward the applications to the state-level empowered committee. If the state-level committee verifies the authenticity and eligibility of the applicants, citizenship will be granted under the provisions of the CAA.

To ensure widespread awareness and proper understanding of the CAA’s provisions, the Directorate of Census Operations plans to launch a statewide awareness campaign. This initiative aims to inform potential applicants about the application process, eligibility criteria, and required documentation, ensuring that those eligible can effectively navigate the path to citizenship.

This development marks a significant step in Tripura’s efforts to implement the CAA, aligning with the central government’s objectives to provide refuge and citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from neighboring countries. The formation of these committees at both district and state levels underscores the commitment to a methodical and transparent process, aiming to balance administrative efficiency with the sensitivity required for such a critical and potentially life-changing process.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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