CAA implementation: Opposition slams 'attempt to polarise' nation ahead of Lok Sabha polls; BJP hails it as historic

    The Hawk
    March12/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    The recent notification of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act rules by the Centre has sparked intense debate, with opposition parties accusing the BJP of attempting to polarize and divide society ahead of the general elections.

    Asaduddin Owaisi, Akhilesh Yadav and Amit Shah

    New Delhi: Opposition parties on Monday slammed the Centre for notifying the rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, alleging the BJP was trying to divide society and polarise the atmosphere ahead of general elections, even as the ruling party hailed it as a "historic" decision that will fulfil the commitment made by the makers of Constitution.

    Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh alleged that the announcement is yet another attempt to "manage the headlines" after the Supreme Court's strictures on the electoral bonds issue.

    He said it has taken four years and three months for the Narendra Modi government to notify the rules for the law cleared by Parliament in December 2019.

    "After seeking nine extensions for the notification of the rules, the timing right before the elections is evidently designed to polarise the elections, especially in West Bengal and Assam," the Congress leader alleged.

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    Hitting out at the BJP, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the CAA as a law that divides society along communal lines and said that it would not be implemented in the southern state.

    "All of Kerala will stand united in opposing this communally divisive law," Vijayan said in a statement.

    The CPI(M) leader asserted that granting citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants in India constitutes a flagrant violation of the Constitution. He added, "Defining Indian citizenship based on religion is unacceptable. It poses an open challenge to humanity, the nation's traditions, and its people."

    West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee vowed to fiercely oppose the CAA if she found it to be discriminatory against groups of people living in India and if it curtailed their existing citizenship rights in any manner.

    At a hurriedly convened press conference in Kolkata minutes before CAA rules were notified, she asked, "Why do this just days before the Lok Sabha polls are scheduled to be announced?"

    Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath welcomed the move and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the "humanitarian decision".

    "The decision to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the welfare of the 'Pidit Manavta' (suffering humanity) is historic. This has paved the way for a respectable life for minority communities suffering from religious brutality in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan," the BJP leader said in this post on X.

    Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the government delivers whatever Prime Minister Modi promises.

    BJP chief spokesperson Anil Baluni said the government has "fulfilled its guarantee". He lauded Modi and Shah for the "historic" decision.

    "With this notification, PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji has delivered on another commitment and realised the promise of the makers of our Constitution to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians living in those countries," Shah posted on X.

    Union Minister Smriti Irani said in a post on X, "11th March 2024: A Historic Day as CAA becomes a Reality with Modi Ki Guarantee!"

    "Our government stands firm in its resolve to provide a secure and welcome environment for all persecuted minorities, ensuring their dignity, rights and aspirations are protected," she added.

    A wave of celebration erupted in parts of West Bengal inhabited by the Matua community whose members said it was their "second independence day".

    Matuas, originally from East Pakistan and headquartered in Thakurnagar, North 24 Parganas, are a weaker section of Hindus who migrated to India during the Partition and after the creation of Bangladesh.

    They celebrated the occasion by beating drums and exchanging pleasantries and also expressed their gratitude towards Prime Minister Modi.

    The community, with an estimated population of three million in the state, can tilt the scales in favour of a political party in more than 30 assembly seats in Nadia, and North and South 24 Parganas districts bordering Bangladesh.

    Strongly opposing the decision to implement the CAA prior to the elections, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stated that the people will express their disapproval of it in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

    In a lengthy post in Hindi on X, Kejriwal accused the BJP of engaging in "dirty politics" by implementing the CAA to secure votes from impoverished individuals in neighbouring countries and convert them into its vote bank in India.

    Noting that the Modi government has brought CAA ahead of Lok Sabha polls, he said, "Instead of solving the real issues, they have implemented the CAA."

    The AAP chief questioned why the BJP desires minorities from neighboring countries to be granted Indian citizenship, suggesting it is to cultivate a vote bank.

    Attacking the Centre, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav termed the move BJPs' "distraction game".

    "The people have now understood the BJP's game of politics of distraction," Yadav said in a post on X.

    In her post on X, BSP chief Mayawati said, "Instead of implementing the citizenship amendment law before the election, it would have been better to implement it only after clearing doubts, confusion and fears."

    AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi dubbed the CAA as divisive and based on "Godse's thought that wanted to reduce Muslims to second-class citizens".

    "Understand the chronology: first, the election season will arrive, followed by the implementation of the CAA rules," he stated.

    The rules for implementation of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 were notified on Monday, paving the way for granting citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

    Assam's Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi said, "The process to legitimise 15-20 lakh Bangladeshi Hindus illegally living in Assam has begun. There is no other way but to come out on the street and protest against this unconstitutional act.''

    Meanwhile, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and 30 indigenous organisations said they will burn copies of the CAA across the state.

    The legislation received approval from the Lok Sabha on December 9, 2019, and later from the Rajya Sabha on December 11, before receiving formal assent from President Ram Nath Kovind on December 12, 2019. Despite its passage, the law faced widespread protests across the country, with many opposition parties denouncing it as discriminatory.

    The law could not come into effect as rules had not been notified till now.

    Over 100 individuals lost their lives during the anti-CAA protests or as a result of police action.