The Union home ministry on Wednesday said that the process of granting citizenship certificates under the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, has begun in West Bengal and that the first set of certificates for applicants from the state has been issued.

The ministry also said that citizenship had been granted under the Act to the first set of applicants from Haryana and Uttarakhand.

Earlier this month, the ministry had issued the first set of citizenship certificates under the Act. Most of those who applied under the Act were reportedly Pakistani Hindus.

This came more than two months after the Centre notified the rules under the Act, laying down the procedure for processing applications by District Level Committees and the scrutiny and grant of citizenship by State Level Empowered Committees.

The Citizenship Amendment Act provides a fast-track to Indian citizenship for refugees from six minority religious communities, except Muslims, from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and have entered the country by December 31, 2014.

Indian Muslims fear that the law could be used, along with the nationwide National Register of Citizens, to harass and disenfranchise them. The National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise to identify undocumented immigrants.