CAA gets rolling; govt issues first set of citizenship certificates to 300 applicants : The Tribune India

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CAA gets rolling; govt issues first set of citizenship certificates to 300 applicants

14 handed over document, all of them migrants from Pak’s Sindh and Balochistan

CAA gets rolling; govt issues first set of citizenship certificates to 300 applicants

Applicants with certificates received under the Citizenship Amendment Act in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANI



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon/Animesh Singh

New Delhi, May 15

“It’s a very emotional day for us, feels like a rebirth,” says Harji, one of the 14 Hindu migrants from Pakistan, who on Wednesday became part of the first batch of people to receive citizenship certificates under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The CAA rules were notified on March 11 and since then, 14,000 applications have been received.

While 14 persons, all from Delhi, received citizenship certificates in person from Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla in the Capital, as many as 300 applicants from the Capital were granted citizenship under the CAA rules on Wednesday.

The number was disclosed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a conversation with a news agency where he said, “Today itself in Delhi, 300 people are being given citizenship under the CAA. The CAA is the country’s law.” Bhalla later said since the notification of rules, nearly 14,000 applications had been received.

The country of origin of all 300 applicants was not known immediately but the 14 migrants who were handed physical certificates today all arrived in India between 2013 and 2014 from Pakistan’s Sindh and Balochistan.

One of them, Kalash Kumar, came from Balochistan as a child in 1996, and has grown up in Delhi. “The Indian citizenship certificate is not a piece of paper for us. It is the very basis of our life. It gives us an identity which we have been longing for,” Kalash Kumar said when asked how it felt to become an Indian citizen.

Bhavna, another migrant, recalled the struggles of her family in Pakistan’s Sindh and said her two elder sisters had to attend school in a burqa and later dropped out. “I have a chance to live the dreams of my sisters. In Pakistan, we had no opportunity to study, work or aspire for a better life. All that changes today,” said the Class XI student.

Overwhelmed with emotion, all 14 migrants — settled in different colonies of Delhi — spoke of their travails in Pakistan and their persecution. Harji said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are our parents. They have given us a home.”

The certificates were handed out at a ceremony where the Director (IB) and the Registrar General of India were also present. Under the CAA rules, applications are processed by a district-level committee while scrutiny and grant of citizenship is done by a state-level empowered committee.

“In pursuance of these rules, applications have been received from persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have entered into India up to December 31, 2014, on account of persecution on grounds of religion or fear of such persecution,” a Union Home Ministry statement said.

As per the rules, district-level committees chaired by senior superintendents of post/superintendents of post as designated officers, on successful verification of the documents, administered the oath of allegiance to the applicants.

The qualification period of application for citizenship has been reduced from 11 to five years for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who came into India before December 31, 2014, under the Citizenship Amendment Rules. The ruling BJP has made the CAA a major poll issue with West Bengal at the core of the BJP’s CAA push.

The government had notified the CAA rules (CAA was part of the saffron party’s poll promise in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the 2021 Bengal poll) a day after the ruling TMC in West Bengal declared all 42 Lok Sabha candidates.

In Bengal, the BJP seeks to guarantee citizenship to nearly 30 lakh-strong Matuas who hold sway in five Lok Sabha segments and over 50 Assembly seats across North and South 24 Parganas and Nadia districts.

14,000 pleas received

  • The CAA rules were notified on March 11; since then, 14,000 applications have been received
  • The ruling BJP has made CAA a major poll issue with West Bengal at core of its CAA push

Gives us an identity

The Indian citizenship certificate is not a piece of paper for us. It’s the very basis of our life. It gives us an identity we have been longing for. — Kalash Kumar, migrant

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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