Demonstrators carry placards and hold candles during a silent protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi. Reuters
The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act which grants citizenship to six non-Muslim communities — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian — who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 after facing religious persecution, has came into force on Friday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs announcement came through a gazette notification almost a month after the law was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019 during the monsoon session.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of the section 1 of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (47 of 2019), the Central Government hereby appoints the 10th day of January, 2020, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force,” the notification says.
Known as CAA, the law evoked protest at various cities across the country since the Parliament passed it, leading to injuries to hundreds of security personnel, the strongest dissent against Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he came into power in 2014. Over 2,000 people have been arrested and around 5,000 detained while protesting against the CAA.
Clearing misconception fuelled by the opposition regarding the CAA, the government has, on many occasions, clarified that the law has “absolutely nothing to do with citizens of India” as the rumour was raised that it is against Muslim community and the people belonging to the community residing illegally will be deported.
“It has nothing to do with the deportation of any foreigner from India,” the government has said. “The deportation process of any foreigners irrespective of his religion or country is implemented as per the mandate of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920.” The CAA absolutely nothing to do with any Indian citizens in any way, the government stressed.
“The Indian citizens enjoy fundamental rights conferred on them by the Constitution of India. No status including the CAA can, a bridge or take them away. There has been a misinformation campaign. The CAA does not affect any Indian citizen, including Muslim citizens.” On the other hand, there is likelihood of a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday notwithstanding the sharp verbal volleys they have exchanged over the CAA issue in recent times, sources said on Friday.
If the meeting comes through on Saturday night, it would be the second face-to-face interaction between the two seasoned politicians after the Lok Sabha polls.
Banerjee had called on Modi in New Delhi on September 18, a meeting that had also generated much controversy as it came against the backdrop of then state police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Additional Director General Rajeev Kumar fighting court cases against the Central Bureau of Investigation which was seeking his custodial interrogation in connection with the probe into the multi-billion ponzi scam cases.
The state BJP, as also the Left Front and the Congress, had then claimed that Banerjee had rushed to Delhi to plead with the Prime Minister so as to save Kumar, considered her blue-eyed boy.
The Trinamool, however, had strongly refuted such allegations, while Banerjee averred that she discussed Bengal’s pending financial dues from the centre under the various Centre-state jointly sponsored programmes and issues like disinvestment of PSUs.
In Hyderabad, it was a sea of humanity and a wave of national flags at ‘Tiranga rally’ on Friday as thousands and thousands of people took to streets to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Led by All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, protestors marched from historic Mir Alam Eidgah to Shastripuram, covering a distance of about four km.
Old timers say this was the largest public gathering the city ever witnessed. This is perhaps the only event where almost every participant was seen carrying the national flag.
Patriotic fervour marked the rally as the sea of tricolour dominated the protest with playing of patriotic songs.
The number of participants outnumbered the protestors at ‘Million March’ held on January 4.
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