CAA implementation for Hindu migrants commences in West Bengal ahead of final phase of polling | India News

CAA implementation for Hindu migrants commences in West Bengal ahead of final phase of polling | India News

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NEW DELHI: Two days ahead of last phase of polling, the process of granting citizenship to Hindu migrants in West Bengal has commenced with the state’s empowered committee — the final authority under the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024, to confer citizenship to Pakistani, Bangladesh and Afghanistan citizens belonging to their six religious minorities —approving the first set of applications.
Similar first sets of applications were also approved on Tuesday in Haryana and Uttarakhand by their respective empowered committees. The process of grant of citizenship by the empowered committee in Delhi had started earlier, with the Union home secretary having handed over the first set of certificates to applicants on May 15, 2024, even as the digitally signed certificates were issued via email.
The rollout of citizenship under CAA in the Trinamool Congress-ruled states comes despite chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s warning at the time of notification of CAA Rules in March this year, that she would oppose their implementation “if they discriminate against people”.
“If there is any discrimination, we won’t accept it….be it religion, caste, or linguistic. They (Central government) won’t be able to give citizenship to anyone in two days. This is just lollipop and show-off,” she had then said while dismissing the notification of CAA rules as an election gimmick.
However, given that the state-level empowered committee as well as the district level committee under CAA Rules are dominated by Central government officials, with only one state government representative included as an invitee, the state government has little leeway to block citizenship requests. More so, since the quorum for both the committees is two, including the chair.
The grant of first set of citizenship certificates in West Bengal fulfils a manifesto promise made by the BJP in the 2019 general election and seeks to benefit lakhs of people from the Matua community who migrated in waves after India’s partition to West Bengal from what then was East Pakistan and is now Bangladesh. The community had been demanding implementation of CAA, which was passed in 2019 but could not be implemented as the rules were notified only on March 11 this year.
Matua community are said to have backed BJP in West Bengal in the 2019 poll, and were seen as a factor in the party’s win in 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.


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