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First Citizenship Certificates Handed out to 14 People under CAA

The first set of citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was issued to 14 people on Wednesday, nearly two months after the Centre notified the rules. Under CAA, minorities persecuted on religious grounds in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan can acquire citizenship in India.

In an exclusive conversation with India Today TV, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, “Today, the Ministry of Home Affairs has initiated the process of issuing certificates (under CAA). I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all 14 refugees. CAA is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to the nation…”

The notification of rules by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on March 11 came four years after the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed by Parliament in December 2019.

Wednesday saw 14 people get their hands on the citizenship certificates after their applications were processed online. The certificates were handed over by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.

Bhavna, one of the applicants who received a citizenship certificate, expressed happiness at getting the opportunity to pursue further education in India.

“I have got the citizenship today and I am feeling very happy, I can study further… I came here in 2014, and I was very happy when this (CAA) was passed…in Pakistan, we girls couldn’t study and it was difficult to go out, if we had to go out, we used to wear burqa. In India, we get to study, I am currently in 11th standard and I got to tuition as well…,” Bhavna was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The CAA amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to provide a fast-track pathway to Indian citizenship for migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who belong to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian communities and who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, due to facing religious persecution in their home countries.

The legislation has been a subject of intense debate and widespread protests across India.

In March, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government moved the Supreme Court against the implementation of CAA, arguing that the rules were “against the basic principle, fundamental principles of the Constitution”.

Last month, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said that CAA will be repealed in the first session of Parliament after the INDIA bloc forms the government at the Centre.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government has firmly defended the implementation of the legislation.

“These rules will enable minorities persecuted on religious grounds in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to acquire citizenship in our nation,” Union home minister Amit Shah tweeted soon after the CAA was notified.

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