Chandigarh: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Friday defended the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), saying only one application for citizenship by a Muslim was pending with the state government.
Addressing a press conference following a meeting of his cabinet, Khattar said in the past five years, 550 Muslims from Haryana have been made citizens of India.
The chief minister added that currently almost 1,500 applications for citizenship were pending (under the old Act), of which only one application was that of a Muslim. If all the paperwork is complete then this person’s citizenship will come through soon, he said.
Criticising the Congress and other opposition parties “for generating an exaggerated fear among Muslims”, Khattar said discrimination against any community was not the aim of the amended citizenship Act.
“The entire citizenship Act has not been replaced by the CAA. The basic scheme and structure of the citizenship Act remains as before,” he said. “Only the persecuted minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have been accorded special dispensation. For the remaining categories of applicants, whoever they might be, the existing citizenship Act would continue to apply.”
He also said that if one were to look at examples around, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani and he himself had come from Pakistan and were in one sense migrants.
Also read: India reached out to diplomatic missions 10 days before citizenship law was passed
Punjab backs Kerala assembly resolution against CAA
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh supported the resolution passed by the Kerala Legislative Assembly seeking amendment to the CAA.
In an open letter to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the chief minister countered the his recent remarks in which he had “discounted the position being taken by some of the States against the CAA” and “called upon such politicians to seek appropriate legal advice before taking such a stand”.
Declaring that as heads of responsible state governments “we are neither naive nor misguided”, Amarinder said laws could not be forcibly imposed on citizens, and like all powers, even the Parliamentary power was coupled with the duty to exercise it responsibly.
Citing the sensitive border location of Punjab, Amarinder also expressed another serious concern with respect to the CAA, noting that the Act’s language “does even require that any illegal migrant seeking its benefit need be of Indian origin in any manner.” All they have to be is from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, he pointed out, adding that this could be a citizen or even a resident, or even a temporary person in transit through these countries.
“Since the CAA has no requirement of being of Indian origin or having to prove any such origins, this means that any person claiming to be of the six religions could simply apply in terms of the amended law, prove entry on/before the cut-off date and be eligible for citizenship,” reads Amarinder’s letter.
“This could in fact be misused for infiltration into our country, particularly in the border states, converting this misguided legislation into a national security threat.”
Also read: How citizenship will be granted under new law and what role a state govt plays
Please note the difference.
Only foreigners (who entered India legally with travel documents) can apply for citizenship.
Illegal migrants (who entered illegally without travel documents) cannot apply for citizenship.
Illegal Non-Muslims migrants can apply for citizenship who are from the three counties.
Illegal Muslims from the three countries cannot apply for citizenship ever.
Illegal migrants from other countries irrespective of the religion cannot apply for citizenship.
BJPs claim that muslims can apply for citizenship is false . Only those who entered legally can apply for citizenship.
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