Manoj Kumar Pathak
New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) will be implemented before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The CAA, which became law in December 2019, aims to provide citizenship to persecuted refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Specifically, it seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant eligibility for Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian illegal migrants from these countries.
Shah emphasized that the legislation aims to grant citizenship rather than “take away anyone’s citizenship.”
“CAA is an act of the country…It will be notified before the polls. There should be no confusion around it. Minorities in our country, and especially our Muslim community, are being provoked…CAA cannot snatch away anyone’s citizenship because there is no provision in the Act. CAA is an act to provide citizenship to refugees who were persecuted in Bangladesh and Pakistan,” Shah said while speaking at a Global Business summit in Delhi.
Shah also alleged that the previous Congress government had “reneged” on the commitment to implement the CAA in the country. “CAA was a promise of the Congress government. When the country was divided and the minorities were persecuted in those countries. Congress assured the refugees that they were welcome in India and will be provided with Indian citizenship but they are backtracking,” Shah says.
The implementation of the CAA has been a topic of controversy and has sparked widespread protests in various parts of the country. Nonetheless, Amit Shah has reassured that the CAA cannot take away anyone’s citizenship, as there is no such provision within the Act. He has also emphasized that the CAA is intended to grant citizenship to those who have faced persecution in their home countries and is not designed to strip Indian citizenship from anyone.
In preparation for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Amit Shah has expressed confidence in the BJP’s and NDA’s prospects, predicting a substantial victory and a third consecutive term under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.
Responding to the possibility of parties like the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), led by Jayant Choudhary, and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) joining the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Home Minister Amit Shah stated that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) believes in family planning but not in politics.
When questioned specifically about the SAD, Shah mentioned that discussions are ongoing but nothing has been finalized. He emphasized that the 2024 elections would not be a contest between the NDA and the INDIA opposition bloc but a choice between development and those who merely offer slogans.
Regarding Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, Shah asserted that Gandhi had no right to lead such a march as his party was responsible for the country’s partition in 1947.
Regarding the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Shah remarked that for 500-550 years, the people of the country believed that the temple should be constructed at the place believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram.