The contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) came into effect across the country from January 10, a notification issued by the Home Ministry said. The notification read, “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 bill was cleared in both houses of Parliament on December 11 and signed by the President on December 12 after which it became an Act. However, the rules for implementing the Act are yet to be framed.
The CAA was framed to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees who arrived in India before December 31, 2014 for facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan of Bangladesh – all three of which are predominantly Muslim countries. The Centre has said that CAA will benefit around five lakh Hindus and more than 31,000 people of other communities who are currently living in India but are not considered valid citizens.
However, protests are being staged by the Opposition and by ordinary citizens across the country who feel that the Act will render lakhs of Muslims stateless. At least 25 people have died and thousands arrested by police during the protests across the country.
While the chief ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala and others have said that they won’t let CAA be implemented in their respective states, the Centre has been saying that it is not upto state governments to decide whether or not to implement a law.