NEW DELHI: The Union home ministry has informed the Lok Sabha that the time to frame rules under the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, has been extended.
The Committees of Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, have granted extension of time till April 4 and July 9 respectively to frame rules under the CAA, junior home minister Nityanand Rai said answering an unstarred question from Palakkad Congress MP VK Sreekandan.
The framing of the CAA rules is necessary to begin the process of grant of citizenship to the intended beneficiaries.
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The Act was passed by the Parliament in December 2019 with an objective to liberalise grant of citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis who have migrated to India before December 31, 2014, from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan fearing religious persecution.
The CAA came under criticism from several quarters for excluding Muslim refugees living in non-Muslim majority countries from its purview and also for leavingout other forms of persecution.
Agitations erupted in Assam leading widespread violence and death of as many as five people in police firing. Although the agitations subsided due to COVID-19 outbreak, several organisations, including the influential All Assam Students’ Union and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, are still continuing with the protests demanding repeal of the act.
Assam stands a chance of demographic change if refugees from Bangladesh are awarded citizenship and settled in the state. The indigenous Assamese communities are feared to be reduced to minorities as it happened in case of Tripura in the past.
The passage of the Act coupled with the announcements about a proposal National Register of Citizens (NRC) triggered off nationwide protests. About 140 petitions were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the CAA on grounds of religious discrimination, arbitrariness and violation of secular principles.
Last year, the Centre had put on hold the work for National Population Register -- the precursor of the NRC -- till further orders citing the COVID-19 pandemic. The NPR process was otherwise scheduled to commence on April 1, 2020.
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