The final draft of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA is expected to be ready by March 30 next year, said Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra.
“By March next year, the final draft of the CAA is expected to be ready for coming into force,” Mishra said while addressing a gathering of the Matua community at Thakurnagar in North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal.
He went on to say: “The process to roll out CAA has gained momentum in the last couple of years… some issues are being sorted out. Nobody can snatch citizenship rights from the Matuas.”
Reacting to the claim, Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen said, “The BJP remembers Matuas and the CAA only during elections. The saffron party will never be able to roll out CAA in West Bengal”.
“The BJP’s false claims are becoming clear to the Matuas and others. The saffron party will be rejected by all in next year’s elections,” he said.
The CAA was passed in 2019, causing massive protests across India by Muslim groups, Opposition parties, rights groups and people of north eastern Indian states.
Across India, more than hundred Muslims were killed by Hindutva militants and state police forces following the protests.
Dozens of people are still being detained today, years after the protests ended, and many rights groups is accusing Delhi Police and Uttar Pradesh Police of abuse.
The new citizenship law, which was an amendment to a 1955 legislation, allows Indian citizenship to “persecuted” minorities – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but makes no reference to Muslims.
The CAA makes it easier for religious minorities from three neighbouring Muslim-majority countries who came to India before 2015 to get Indian citizenship – but not if they are Muslim.
Coupled with the ongoing National Population Register (NPR) and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), India’s Muslims, who form nearly 15 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion population, fear the steps are aimed at marginalising them.
Opposition parties say the law is discriminatory as it singles out Muslims in an officially secular nation of 1.3 billion people.
Critics point out that the move is part of a Hindu supremacist agenda pushed by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since it came to power nearly nine years ago.
Multiple petitions have been filed against the law in India’s Supreme Court.