Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) passed by the Indian Parliament has resulted in nationwide protests as many felt the new provisions added by the Central Government are discriminatory in nature.
The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 is intended to help illegal migrants who came to India before 31-12-2014 – from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh – apply for Indian citizenship via a faster route if they belong to Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Parsi or Buddhist religious beliefs.
Muslims are not listed in the act.
Citizenship Amendment Act 2019: Why are people opposing it?
Those who oppose the CAA feel that the new provisions are against the secular foundations of the Indian Constitution. They believe the Amendments made are ethically wrong.
There are also apprehensions in some sections that the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, followed by the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is to alter the voters’ profile and majority sentiments in favour of the ruling party.
Natives of north-east India, who are most affected by the problems of illegal migration, are against the whole idea of giving citizenship to illegal migrants, irrespective of their religion.
Government’s Clarification on Citizenship Amendment Act 2019
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has released a clarification of the Central Government on the issue. The questions and answers published by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) are reproduced below.
Does the CAA affect any Indian citizen?
No, it has absolutely nothing to do with any Indian citizen in any way. The Indian citizens enjoy fundamental rights conferred on them by the Constitution of India. No statute, including the CAA, can abridge or take them away. There has been a misinformation campaign. The CAA does not affect any Indian citizens, including Muslim citizens.
Who does the CAA apply to?
It is relevant only for Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian foreigners, who have migrated from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan into India up to 31.12.2014, on account of persecution faced by them due to their religion. It does not apply to any other foreigners, including Muslims migrating to India from any country, including these three countries.
How does it benefit Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian foreigners hailing from these three countries?
If their travel documents like passport and visa are not in order or are not available, they can apply for Indian citizenship if they were persecuted back home. The CAA creates this legal right for such migrants. Secondly, they get a faster route for Indian citizenship through the Naturalisation Mode. The minimum residency requirement in India would be only 1+5 years instead of 1+11 years as applicable for all other categories of foreigners.
Does this mean that Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan can never get Indian citizenship?
No, the present legal process of acquiring Indian citizenship by any foreigner of any category through Naturalization (Section 6 of the Citizenship Act) or through Registration (Section 5 of the Act) stays operational. The CAA does not amend or alter it in any manner whatsoever. Hundreds of Muslims migrating from these three countries have been granted Indian citizenship during the last few years. If found eligible, all such future migrants shall also get Indian citizenship, irrespective of their numbers or religion.
In 2014, after the settlement of Indo-Bangladesh boundary issues, 14,864 Bangladeshi citizens were given Indian Citizenship when their enclaves were incorporated into the territory of India. Thousands of these foreigners were Muslims.
Will illegal Muslim immigrants from these three countries be deported under the CAA?
No, the CAA has absolutely nothing to do with the deportation of any foreigner from India. The deportation process of any foreigner irrespective of his religion or country is implemented as per the mandate of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and/or The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. These two laws govern entry, stay movement within India and exit from India of all foreigners irrespective of their religion or country.
Therefore, the usual deportation process would apply to any illegal foreigner staying in India. It is a well-considered judicial process that is based on a proper inquiry by the local police or administrative authorities to detect an illegal foreigner. It is ensured that such an illegal foreigner has been issued a proper travel document by the embassy of his country so that he can be duly received by officials of his country when he is deported.
In Assam, the process of deportation happens only after the determination of such a person as a “foreigner” under The Foreigners Act, 1946. Then he becomes liable for deportation. Therefore, there is nothing automatic, mechanical or discriminatory in this
exercise. The state governments and their district-level authorities enjoy the power of Central Govt. under Section 3 of the Foreigners Act and Section 5 of The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 to detect, detain & deport any illegal foreigner.
Can Hindus facing persecution on grounds of religion in countries other than these 3 countries apply under the CAA?
No, they will have to apply through the usual process to get Indian Citizenship just like any other foreigner for either registration or naturalization as a citizen of India. They would get no preference under The Citizenship Act, 1955, even after the CAA.
Does the CAA also cover other forms of persecution – on grounds of race, gender, membership of a political or social group, language, ethnicity etc.?
No, the CAA is a very focused law that deals specifically with foreigners of six minority community groups hailing from three neighbouring countries that have their distinct state religion. Any foreigner persecuted abroad on any account may apply for registration or naturalization as a citizen of India like any other foreigner if he fulfils the minimum qualifications laid down in The Citizenship Act, 1955.
The CAA will gradually exclude Indian Muslims from the citizenship of India?
The CAA does not apply to any Indian citizen at all. All Indian citizens enjoy the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. CAA is not meant to deprive any Indian citizen of his citizenship. Rather it is a special law to enable certain foreigners facing a particular situation in three neighbouring countries to get Indian citizenship.
CAA will be followed by NRC and all migrants except Muslims will be given citizenship and Muslims will be sent to detention camps?
The CAA has nothing to do with NRC. The legal provisions regarding NRC have been part of The Citizenship Act, 1955 since December 2004. Also, there are specific statutory rules of 2003 to operationalize these legal provisions. They govern the process of registration of Indian citizens and the issuance of national identity cards to them. These legal provisions have been on the statute books since the last 15-16 years. The CAA has not altered them in any way whatsoever.
What are the rules for citizenship under CAA?
Appropriate rules under the CAA are being framed. They will operationalize various provisions of the CAA.
CAA – Myths and Facts in Perspective of North-East (Government’s Release)
Government of India has also released MythBusters in connection with CAA and North-East India.
Citizenship Amendment Act 2019: What is your opinion about CAA?
Do you agree with the logic of the Central government behind CAA and NRC?
As a UPSC aspirant, or a citizen of India, what is your opinion about the new amendments made to the Indian Citizenship Act of 1955?
Should refugees and illegal migrants be treated equally?
What should be India’s refugee policy?
Should there be a nation-wide NRC, as announced by the Central Government of India? Considering the cost incurred in Assam (the first state where it was conducted), will it drain the financial and human resources of this country? Is the whole exercise of CAA and NRC necessary?
Are CAA and NRC diversion-tactics by the government to take attention from the real problems of the country like economic slow-down, unemployment, and price-rise – as pointed out by many?
We at ClearIAS.com believe in diverse viewpoints and democratic debates. For that, you need the right information. With this information, you should analyse both sides of an issue – without any bias. Once that is done, you will be able to take a stand.
In the case of CAB, we have already presented both-sides in one of our previous articles.
Post your opinion and analysis as comments.
Shakti Gayatri Panda says
As per my view refugees and illegal immigrants should not be treated equally on par. When a person enters India without valid documents , then he must be prosecuted by proper Court of Law. It is not a good idea to grant these illegal immigrants citizenship only on basis of their religion. This CAA has changed the definition of *illegal immigrants*.
2nd:- The Central Government , used the word *humanitarian ground* to these religiously prosecuted individual. But , the CG should also consider other people who are prosecuted in these 3 countries. These include SHIA MUSLIMS IN PAKISTAN, AHMADIYAN MUSLIMS IN PAKISTAN , BIHARI MUSLIMS IN BANGLADESH and also other some minority sections of Muslims , whom they (those 3 countries) are reluctant to accept as Muslims. Due to religious prosecution these poor helpless Muslims are staying in temporary camps. When our Central Government is showing soft behavior towards non-muslims then why poor religiously prosecuted Muslims are excluded from the list??
3rd:- Our country is already facing the plight of poverty , price hike of edible things , unemployment , population explosion, intense pollution. In this crucial moment we need better infrastructure for our country to achieve our goal I.e. becoming a welfare national . It is not our duty to save only non- Muslims from religious prosecution. We expect from our Central Government to implement better infrastructure for students , youngmen , so that our own citizen can achieve something big.
We need proper education for the children of our country. Still our education system is very poor in related to US , JAPAN etc.
Even today our own girls , women are not safe in our nation, which is a biggest issue. And in this time when people are considering *EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLING-ENCOUNTER* as justice , the CG should realise the real fact that this is warning bell for our administration , execution as well as judiciary organs. People have lost faith on JUSTICE. CG should do something to bring back people’s faith on judiciary and justice.
Sudden explosion of population would create problem for food and shelter. Population explosion would also increase crime in country. Why I am using the term crime ?? Because in border areas smugglings are very popular. In Odisha , illegal immigrants from Bangladesh are engaged in illegal narcotic drugs business(Kendrapara , bhadrakh) etc. So without implementing any infrastructure to secure our nation , granting citizenship to a huge number of people is not a good idea. It would drain the economy of our country.
4th:- Our Indian medias are making joke of Pakistan due to price hike. E.g- tomato price300/- , milk 200/- etc . But now we are also in the same track as prices are hiking everyday. Onion has reached 200/- per kg. Everyday using potato’s are 35/- per kg. We are not getting safe drinking water. Due to pollution , people are unable to get pure air. In Delhi people are spending rs.500/- for 15 minutes to get 100% pure oxygen in “oxybar”.
When our situation is so worse then how CG is granting citizenship to more people? Honable Supreme Court already declared that people in Delhi are living is gas chamber.
I think this is not a good idea to grant citizenship to a large numbers of illegal immigrants in fast track manner. Because population explosion would only create havoc in our nation.
For us our country matters first . we should concentrate on nation’s problem and towards its better solution. This is not a time for showering humanity to foreigners in this fast track manner. After achieving our goals for nation , then we can consider to grant citizenship to others in fast track manner.
Our constitutional founding father had given us some responsibility in Directive Principle of State Policy to make our nation a welfare country. First of all we have to achieve those goals .
Shivli Kapoor says
First of all India is a secular country. India’s secularism has always meant treating every religion equally. It also means that the government cannot favour one religion over another. If the benefit of acquiring citizenship in a fast track manner is being given to refugees, it should not discriminate them on the basis of religion by excluding just one religion. The problem of CAA is it’s arbitrary nature. If the intention of the government is humanitarian and to protect those who have faced religious persecution then why discriminate the refugees? Give them citizenship on case to case basis and just reduce the period of naturalization. The government should focus on real problems that the country is facing that is of slowing economy and unemployment. These unnecessary issues are just to divert people’s attention towards trivial issues and spread divisive politics. It will further burden the resources and economy of our country. The government should set it’s priorities in an unbiased manner and for the welfare of the citizens.
Chandra Shekhar Chauhan says
Agree 100% with Shakti Gayatri Panda’s comment above….every day i open the newspaper I am sure that there will be some or the other news regarding the new “trend” of raping and then burning alive of women. Air pollution is reaching poisonous proportions. We are slipping down on HDI indices. Economy is in very poor shape. Quality of Education is pathetic. Tribals are getting dispossessed of their lands for every “developmental” project. over 20 metros are to run out of ground water within 5-10 years as per NITI ayog.
When we are unable to provide basic services to our existing population, what is the need to add more to those needing these basic services?
Why to disturb the peace in north east that was achieved with so much pain?
Govt must direct all energy towards REAL issues like women security, MMR, IMR, Clean water, disaster preparedness, impending climate change mitigation, quality education and health for all, employment generation.
These are the things that should dominate news headlines, not something related to religion. Its unfortunate.
Now since the Ram Temple issue is settled, something new and even more divisive is needed to ensure that polarised votes keep coming. Hence this new issue.
We may head towards partition 2.0
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Venkatesh maloth says
Thanks you sir…
Girish Chandra Pandey says
As per my point of view ,Those refugees who are living in India from severl years without being an Indian citizen should be got the citizenship of India.
If Government is thinking about it ,so it is a very great work of our Indian Government.
I am agree with CAA.
Sayad shabir says
NRC and CAA is not very essential now. First thing is that you must control the GDP and economic of India then employment, farming, medical , business sector and above all women safety strong law for it must be taken. If you do not stable the country in every sector people can not trust you. First do the things which is necessary for development of each and every people in every way of life then talk about this kind of bill. And kindly please stop the people who are trying to divide us by religious manner. India is a secular country and this is the strength. Do not let anybody to dilute it.
As per my point of view CAA is right. India is secular country and known in the whole world for this. our Parliament take step toward providing citizenship. here is nothing wrong in it . but the people who are against , they have no clarification about the CAA.
Vijay Purohit says
Yes….you are really right about it. As a citizen of India, I’m very disappointed from this protest..the way people are damaging the public property, it is very bad.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts over this.
Satyajit Chatterjee says
I am highly surprised to see the political activity of most of the political parties on the issue of CAA. I have gone through the whole Act but do not get any single line which is against any community. Now I would like to ask one question is India a paradise of the infiltrators ? If the answer is negative then why a stringent law for citizenship is not framed for the infiltrators of any religious community. This infiltration directly affects our economy. Those who are sounding for less GDP growth and inflation, they should raise their voice for the above law not to mislead the common people in fish out of water.
Let's agree to disagree says
Why India needs to standup against CAA and NRC.
CAA coupled with NRC gives the govt a powerful tool to refine electoral rolls in favour of them among many other political benefits but does next to nothing to put up a good and modern immigration policy. If implemented, this is gonna be a disaster for millions cutting across religious and political lines and need to be opposed with all might.
Please read the post and follow the page as well.
Susmita Phukan says
The main reason why the people is protesting against the CAA is not that we are inhumane but the thing is that India’s population explosion is already uncontrollable and as a result our problems have been increasing. To be a developed country we should think of population control but the CG wants to add more people making the situation worse for the Indians just for getting the vote bank. If the CG really wants to develop India they should emphasis on the real problems like the highest unemployment rate till date, low GDP, price hiking of the most essential goods, degradation of the natural resources, increasing BPL people and many more. India cannot be a dumping place for immigrants till all the basic necessities of the current citizens are met.
We can’t have a full plate for ourselves but yet we are offering others and it’s a good thing but we shouldn’t do this as our condition is worse or we can say worst at first we should stand up for our own country for the people of our country and for their benefits we are already dealing with many of the crisis which are known and unknown to common people.
We are already dealing with corruption, economic crisis, population explosion, lack of proper infrastructure in business, medical and other areas. Problem of education system is yet worse in our country at first we should stand for this these are major problems.
Yeah now this NRC and CAA matter, as India is a secular country so we should support every religion and maintain our image and actually what we are in the matter of secularism, we shouldn’t differentiate between religions.
Have you calculated population of minorities combined in all these 3 countries?
If 50% of minorities from 3 countries combined comes to India there number will not exceed than 50 lakh.
Now 50 lakh refugees can be distributed all over India in small groups or they can stay in the camps build by government.
After partition Muslims were also given citizenship and minority status. What is the problem with if these 50 lakh refugee are getting citizenship just 5 year prior then their muslim counterpart on basis of religious persecution done on them in their country.
Shakti Gayatri Panda says
CAA already created havoc in our nation and everyday it is destroying valuable peace , unity , public property.. One side they are saying that they are eager to showering humanity to foreigners and the other hand they are exercising brutality to own citizens. Before introducing such decisive Act in nation , the central government should be extra vigilant to security of country. Now , people are shouting BJP is trying to make India a Hindu nation. Why they are saying like this?? Because ruling party’s act clearly visible . First abrogation of 370 , then triple talaq , ayodhya verdict and finally this CAA. Although ayodhya verdict is a judicial decision , but the decision is very crucial. Thanks to our responsible people as they did not oppose the verdict. But the consequences of these acts showing that the government is against Muslims.The central government became over confident that people won’t oppose any of its act.
What is the need for amending citizenship act and granting citizenship in a fast track manner.??
Is it good to provide citizenship to those people who are illegal immigrants??
Is it good to provide citizenship to those people who are infilters without valid documents??
It is right to grant citizenship on basis of religion??
Yesterday NITI AYOG told that *KEEPING FAMILY SMALL IS AN ACT OF PATRIOTISM* . Why Niti Ayog published such type of words?? Because, Population explosion pose a great threat to our nation’s growth. We are suffering from various adverse situation everyday due to population explosion .
Those politician who are eager to granting citizenship to those illegal immigrants who are residing in India since last 5 years ,
I am inviting all of those politicians to come to tribal areas of Odisha , rural areas of Bihar , jharkhand and watch how your own citizens are living in miserable conditions. In Muzzafarpur Bihar babies are under nutrition as they are not getting two times meal. Scheduled caste people are reluctant to send their children to school because in school SC caste children’s are discriminated on the basis of caste. Have you ever think about all those situation. Now a petition which seeks *Art.21 right to life also include right to food* is pending in Supreme court.
Someone mentioned that we (who opposing CAA) are inhuman to foreigner Hindus. No dear , we are not inhumans , in fact we are really concerned about our own people. After 72 years of independence , still our people are in such miserable conditions. Till now we have not reached the goals which were set by Hon’ble Dr.B.R.Amedkar. Still untouchability prevail in our nation.
Home minister said those poor Hindus gave no option except India. Some of my friends also stated the same. But friend remember India is not a Hindu nation . So it can’t only provide citizenship to Hindus , if it providing citizenship to Hindus then it should provide citizenship to Muslims.
The Hindu refugees can go to NEPAL as Nepal is a Hindu state.
“But please don’t divide the country on basis of religion”.
“Please don’t allow any illegal immigrants to stay in our country as legally granted citizen.”
“Don’t reduce the time for granting citizenship to those foreigner Hindus from B’desh , Pak and Afgan’stan.”
Otherwise these foreign Hindus will pose a great threat for us.
Avaneesh Yadav says
1. ‘Illegal immigrants’ should be defined in the context of CAA and it should be made sure that new amendment does not violate any other provision provided in Citizenship Act. i.e. It erase the demarcating line b/w Illegal immigrants and religious persecuted.
2. Article 14- which used word ‘person’ is application to all. So this legislation does not clarify how it deals with FR of other nation.
3. It provide citizenship to persecuted person without proper document. How it will demarcate if the person is really persecuted and he belonged to any of the 3 countries before 31st Dec 2014.
4. Only 7/33 districts of Assam and some part of Tripura are protected under sch 6. It is very natural and genuine of inferior feeling among culturally intact people of these regions.
5. Other persecuted person of another country like Hindu from S Lanka, Buddhist from Tibet, Shia, Rohingyas are also religiously persecuted.
What is the idea behind not including muslim migrants from the three countries?
What Shakti Gayatri Panda says is 100% correct
Because these three countries are Muslim majority state!
Francis Sebastian says
If Indians are accepting refugees on humanitarian then accept all do not make any distinction as to which country they belong, whether they are from theocratic or agnostic country.
In the CAA there is no mention of the phrase “religiously persecuted” then how is it still debated ? Even by the myth busters on this line?
Ashok bhardwaj says
This all about the vote bank
Amit shah and modi who have criminal records telling us Whether we Indians
Or not what a joke dude….we all are Indians and proud to be indians
Now it’s a time now we will throw to these weak and sick minded politican like Amit shah and modi out of our india
Jai hind Jai. Bharat
All the best but government is not doing well in the country with their peoples….,…,..
Sujit pathak says
I am fully satisfied by govt clarification on CAA and I am standing with govt
CAA was much needed after the 70 years of injustice persecuted minorities have faced. Hon’ble B R Ambedkar himself mentioned this as a temporary settlement that needed correction so our government has simply done what was due.
Regarding any community being cornered, please read the bill thoroughly, muslims aren’t included because these 3 nations are islamists in the first place so how can they be persecuted minorities? Moreover, population influx isn’t even a real issue as the number are far less as someone has rightly explained.
The lobby simply wants to bring in perennial issues that we have always faced to blame the present government, when its the people who should take responsibility for issues like climate change and population explosion NOT JUST the government. They say the bill is a distraction from real issues, the truth remains they have used the CAA protest, all over the country as a means to carry out terrorist exchanges and conspire nation-wide lynchings.
Naysayers will stoop to any level to criticise even the right reforms so let’s not get blinded by their negativity. Finally, let this be stated clearly, the bill has nothing to do with gathering vote banks because Modi has already proved his might twice not just once and remains the most trusted leader as the numbers prove. Moreover, BJP doesn’t have to do vote bank-politics unlike the failing opposition.
I stand in solidarity with the government because clearly, no community is being targeted only the lost ones being offered support!
Secularism doesn’t say to indulge in LOVE JIHAD, FORCEFUL CONVERSION, BLOCKAGE OF NH FOR MONTHS, KILLING NON-MUSLIMS FOR THE SAKE OF ALLAH. HINDUS are the victims of secularism. when a Muslim youth lynched by a mob, you tell them Hindu terror. but when Terrorists belongs to organizations Taliban, ISIS, LeT, JuD kill people including Muslims through Suicide bombing and gunfire, you says terror has no religion. Why such double standard and hypocrisy ??
Pakistani Hindu population downed from 15% in 1947 to 1% in 2021. why such decline comes in Pakistan. Look at the situation in Taliban hit Afghanistan, when we rescued Sikhs and Hindus from there .. In Bangladesh, the same situation like Pakistan continues.
India is a 15000 year civilization & we don’t need any certification from outsiders on secularism. We let everyone to settle here from jews to Tibetans. But Muslims won’t be allowed here. if u have heard of Lebanon demographic change, you would have answered correctly.