Explaining the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed in 2019, offers a path to citizenship for certain non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014. The law sparked nationwide controversy due to its exclusion of Muslims and concerns about religious discrimination.

What is the CAA?
  • The CAA amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists,Jains, Parsis, and Christians who faced religious persecution in their countries of origin (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan).
  • Migrants who arrived in India before December 31, 2014, are eligible.
  • The CAA reduces the residency requirement for naturalization from 12 to 6 years for these groups.
Implementation and Impact
  • Rules for implementing the CAA were delayed until March 2024.
  • The Union Home Minister promised implementation before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
  • The law could benefit over 30,000 individuals who would become eligible for citizenship.
Protests and Controversy
  • The CAA faced widespread protests across India shortly after its passing due to concerns about religious discrimination against Muslims.
  • Opponents argue that the law violates India’s secular constitution.
Application Process
  • Rules for implementation are now in place, allowing eligible migrants to apply for citizenship.
  • The entire application process will be conducted online.

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