On 11 December 2019, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was passed after approval from Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha passed the bill on 9 December 2019. With Covid-19 delaying the Act’s implementation, BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya has hinted that CAA will be implemented from January 2021.
Crux of the Matter
First introduced in 2016 by BJP, it was reintroduced and subsequently passed in December 2019.
The aim of CAA is to speeden up the provision of citizenship for persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The 6 minority groups are defined as:
The list excludes Muslims, with the Government claiming that they do not face persecution on basis of their majority in the mentioned nations.
- Illegal migrants (of the 6 religions) entering India on or before 31 December 2014 from the mentioned nations won’t be treated as illegal migrants. Instead, they are now eligible for Indian citizenship.
- Naturalization period for such minorities reduced from 11 years to 5 years.
- 11 year period applicable to other migrants.
- Notably, the act does not use the word ‘persecuted’.
CAA has been earlier introduced in Congress rule also, although it didn’t mention religion then. The 1955 Citizenship Act has been amended 5 times prior to 2019 – in 1986, 1992, 2003, 2005, and 2015.
Link With NRC
Suspicions over CAA mainly arise out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The 2003 Amendment of Citizenship Act directed an NRC, which has not been implemented by the subsequent Governments. The NRC counts only legal citizens and has been done only in Assam regularly.
Apprehension regarding CAA comes from the possibility of an all-India NRC expected to be done by 2024 as per Home Minister Amit Shah. Fear for Muslim citizens in such a case arises over proof of ancestry and citizenship.
Where Is CAA Not Applicable?
CAA is not applicable to
- Tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura due to the 6th Schedule of Constitution.
- Areas under Inner Line Permit (ILP) i.e. the most of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland states.
- CAA is not applicable to Indian citizens.
- Opposed by Assam and states under Inner Line Permit (ILP) – cite threat to local culture by ‘all’ migrants. Assam cites examples of increasing Bangla influence in the state.
- Protests began in Assam – spread to Jamia Millia, AMU, etc, and then to across the nation.
- 25+ people died in protests in December 2019 alone.
- Worst violence occurred in case of protests in Delhi in February 2020 when US President Trump visited India. 47 people were killed in the riots occurring after protests.
- Chronology is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time. While of critical importance to the historian, methods of determining chronology are used in most disciplines of science, especially astronomy, geology, paleontology and archaeology.
- Naturalisation is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen of a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. To counter multiple citizenships, most countries require that applicants for naturalization renounce any other citizenship that they currently hold.
- Jus sanguinis is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship is determined or acquired by the nationality or ethnicity of one or both parents. Children at birth may be citizens of a particular state if either or both of their parents have citizenship of that state. The current Indian nationality law largely follows the jus sanguinis as opposed to the jus soli (citizenship by right of birth within the territory).
- The Print – What 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act says and why the outrage over it
- Livemint – When will CAA be implemented? From Jan 2021, says BJP’s Kailash Vijayvargiya
- India Today – CAA, NPR and NRC: Confusion and connection explained
- MSN – Delhi violence: 47 killed, here is the full list of deceased
- The Indian Express – Explained: What is Inner Line Permit, what is its CAA context?