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Groundbreaking Rules Revolutionize Citizenship Path Under CAA – No Passport, No Visa Required!

Groundbreaking Rules Revolutionize Citizenship Path Under CAA – No Passport, No Visa Required! – The Government of India has notified new rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), easing the process for members of minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to seek Indian citizenship.

No Passport or Visa Required

As per the notified rules, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, or Christian individuals from these countries who entered India before December 31, 2014, can now apply for citizenship without a valid passport or visa from their home country.

Simplified Document Requirements

The new rules have simplified the documentary evidence required for citizenship applications. Any document proving an applicant’s or their ancestors’ nationality, such as birth certificates, educational records, or identity cards, would suffice. Even documents issued by local bodies or elected representatives are acceptable.

“Any document that shows that either of the parents or grandparents or great-grandparents of the applicant is or had been a citizen of one of the three countries” is now admissible as proof of nationality, the rules state.

Facilitating Persecuted Minorities

Home Minister Amit Shah hailed the move, stating it would enable minorities persecuted on religious grounds in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to acquire Indian citizenship. He lauded PM Modi for delivering on a commitment to these communities, as envisioned by the makers of India’s Constitution.

“With this notification, PM Shri @narendramodi Ji has delivered on another commitment and realized the promise of the makers of our Constitution to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians living in those countries,” Shah said in a post on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter).

Opposition Concerns and State Role

While several opposition-ruled states have expressed their unwillingness to implement the CAA, the new rules have reduced the involvement of state governments in the citizenship process. The applications will now be processed by centrally-appointed committees, limiting the states’ participation.

“The CAA presumes that members of these communities who entered India faced religious persecution in these countries. It stipulates that any member of these communities who entered India, legally or illegally, from the three countries before December 31, 2014, shall be eligible for Indian citizenship.” – Dr. Anirudh Pratap Singh, Professor of Political Science, Delhi University

Centralized Application Process

The Centre has set up an empowered committee, headed by a director (census operations), and district-level committees to receive and process applications electronically. The empowered committee will have the authority to scrutinize and grant or reject Indian citizenship.

Relaxed Language Requirements

The rules have also eased the language requirement for citizenship. Instead of producing a certificate from an educational institution, a self-declaration and the ability to speak one of the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution will now suffice.

Potential Impact and Benefits

The development is expected to benefit thousands of non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who were previously living in India illegally or on long-term visas. The government aims to provide a pathway to citizenship for these persecuted minority communities through the relaxed rules.

However, concerns remain about the potential misuse of the provisions and the need for robust monitoring mechanisms to ensure the integrity of the citizenship process.

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