Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah said on Monday that the Citizenship Amendment Act will not take away the citizenship of Indian Muslims, News18 reported. He accused the Congress party of trying to create confusion about the matter, and claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party was now trying to clear it up.
“There has been a deliberate attempt to create confusion among the people regarding the CAA,” Shah told the news channel in an interview. “They’ve been misled to believe that their citizenship will go away with the implementation of CAA.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, notified on January 10, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been criticised for excluding Muslims. At least 28 people died across the country in protests against the legislation in December. However, the BJP has defended the Act, saying that it helps persecuted minorities from these three countries get citizenship, as they have nowhere to go to.
On Monday, Shah said Congress leaders like Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad have themselves said that the CAA does not take away citizenship. “Then why did their party president [Sonia Gandhi] go to Ram Leela Maidan to instigate people to come on the road to protest it?” he asked. “These kind of things don’t run long. We have communicated the idea of CAA through media and discussion in the House and it has percolated down to the people.”
Shah reiterated his commitment to introducing the National Register of Citizens, which had sparked massive controversy around the country this year, and resulted in protests. But the home minister said the NRC will be considered after the confusion about the Citizenship Amendment Act is cleared up. The NRC is a proposed nationwide exercise to identify undocumented migrants. It was first implemented in Assam, where over 19 lakh people were excluded from the register.