Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Owaisi Issues statement on MHA rule on granting citizenship

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Asaduddin Owaisi, the head of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), responded on Tuesday to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notification giving district collectors in two more Gujarati districts the authority to grant citizenship to immigrants from the six communities who entered India legally. Owaisi said, “You should make this law impartial as to religion.”

The District Collectors of Gujarat’s Mehsana and Anand districts have the authority to conduct investigations and grant citizenship to individuals in accordance with the Ministry of Home Affairs’ new regulation regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), according to authorities.

Asaduddin Owaisi stated, “It is already occurring that you first issue the long-term VISA and then they (the minority group of Afghanistan) gain citizenship,” in a statement to the news agency.

Asaduddin Owaisi, who restrained himself from commenting further because the issue was still in court, stated, “The Citizenship Amendment Act has to be connected to the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).” He said, “Supreme Court is hearing this, let’s see what happens.”

When questioned about the Bhartiya Janta Party’s decision to create a committee to implement the Uniform Civil Code, AIMIM Chief said that the committee, which the BJP constituted prior to the elections, is intended to conceal the government’s mistakes and failings. “Why only Hindus are eligible for the Hindu undivided family tax refund. Give it to Muslims as well; refusing to do so would violate the Constitution’s basic guarantee of equality “he added.

This is not the first time that the MHA has granted such authority to district magistrates or collectors; similar directives were issued in 2016, 2018, and 2021, giving district magistrates in several districts of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab the authority to issue citizenship certificates to immigrants from the six communities who entered India legally. A key topic is citizenship, and occasionally MHA deputises State personnel to exercise these rights.

On December 11, 2019, Parliament enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act, and the next day, the President gave his consent.

The Ministry announced in January 2020 that the Act would go into effect on January 10, 2020, but it later asked the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha Parliamentary Committees for additional time to implement the regulations because the country was experiencing its worst-ever health crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The MHA has previously requested such extensions from the Parliamentary Committees six times. The first extension for announcing CAA rules was given in June 2020.

The Legislation, which provides citizenship to immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who are members of the Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Parsi, Christian, or Buddhist groups, was vehemently criticised by the Opposition for having a clear racial purpose and notably excluding Muslims.

The law has been read in light of Home Minister Amit Shah’s repeated claims that there would be a national effort to create the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRC) to detect illegal immigrants before the Act was approved. This was perceived as a plan to deny Muslims their rights. While there were protests around the country when the law was passed, several states have said they won’t enforce it.

The CAA’s rules have not yet been formulated, hence the legislation has not yet been put into effect.

In accordance with the Manual on Parliamentary Work, in the event that the Ministries/Departments are unable to draught the rules within the allotted six months following Presidential approval, they must “seek an extension of time from the Committee on Subordinate Legislation stating reasons for such extension,” which cannot be granted for longer than three months at a time.

Indian citizenship will only be granted to CAA-qualified recipients when the regulations governing the law are announced, as the central government has previously made plain.

The CAA’s goal is to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who arrived in India on December 31, 2014, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians. They won’t be considered undocumented residents or granted Indian citizenship.

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