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Citizen certificates issued as govt starts granting citizenship in West Bengal, Haryana, and Uttrakhand

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The Central Government has formally initiated the process of granting citizenship under the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) in the states namely West Bengal, Haryana, and Uttrakhand. On March 11, just before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs published the notice of regulations under the CAA.

According to the MHA, state-level empowered committees have begun issuing citizenship certificates.

“The process of granting citizenship certificates under the CAA has now commenced in West Bengal, where the first set of applications from the state were today granted citizenship by the Empowered Committee, West Bengal. Similarly, the empowered committees of the states of Haryana and Uttrakhand have also granted citizenship today to the first set of applicants in their respective states” an MHA spokesperson stated.

The Citizen Amendment Act 2019, passed in December 2019, aims at relaxing the process of granting Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from three neighbouring countries—Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan—who came to the country before December 31, 2014. Implementation of the Act had been pending since 2019 until the rules were specified in 2024.

In the backdrop of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee opposing the CAA and promising not to implement it in her state, this development comes as a breather.

According to BJP IT Cell chief and co-in-charge for Bengal Amit Malviya, matters of giving citizenship are exclusive rights of the Centre.

“The process of granting citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024 commences in West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee screamed from the rooftop that she won’t allow CAA to be implemented but could do nothing to stop it. The right to confer citizenship is exclusively in the Centre’s domain and states have no locus standi in the matter. The BJP will ensure every eligible person gets citizenship. It is a civilisational commitment that the Modi government made to the people, who have been waiting for legitimacy, for decades.” Malviya said on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter).

The CAA rules explain the application process and the modalities of the work of the District-Level Committee (DLC) and the State-Level Empowered Committee (EC).

Applications have been made by those belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, and Christian communities coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution or the fear of such persecution.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla recently handed over the first set of citizenship certificates to 14 applicants. It is informed that nearly 300 more applicants were sent digitally signed certificates via email. The Empowered Committee in Delhi has cleared all vetted applications.

The Union Government of West Bengal, Haryana, and Uttarakhand formally began awarding citizenship under the CAA on May 29. Applicants have been given their citizenship certificates in the first batch by State Empowered Committees in these localities.

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