Modi govt delays announcing CAA rules as it fears move could ‘add fuel to fire’

Modi govt delays announcing CAA rules as it fears move could ‘add fuel to fire’

The government also believes the Shaheen Bagh campaign will ‘fizzle out’ on its own, and therefore MHA has no plans for talks with the protesters.

Anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi

Anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is likely to hold out on announcing the rules that will form the framework for the Citizenship Amendment Act until the “protests cool down”, because it fears the move could further provoke protesters “adding fuel to fire”, ThePrint has learnt.

“We will let things cool down before making any announcement,” said a senior official from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), who did not wish to be named.

ThePrint has also learnt that the MHA does not have any plan either to engage with those sitting in New Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh to protest against the CAA as it believes the campaign will “fizzle out” on its own.

Govt in no hurry’ to notify CAA rules

While the CAA was passed by Parliament on 11 December last year and came into force 10 January, the rules that will govern the law are yet to be notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

According to the senior MHA official quoted above, the process to frame the rules is on, but the government was in “no hurry” to announce them as it would mean “adding fuel to fire”. The rules, the official said, will not be announced until the situation is “under control”.

“We are in no hurry. Currently, there are protests going on in parts of the country, including Delhi, the matter is also in court. We will let things cool down before making any announcement,” the official added.

“We are also gauging the mood of the public. Moreover, there are many more things that the government is working on and are on top of the priority list,” the official said. “The rules will definitely come, the process is on but it will just take some time.”

According to the official, the committee that will frame the rules includes secretaries from the MHA as well as the Ministry of Law and Justice.

“We have senior officers from their respective domains looking into this issue and will come up with comprehensive rules,” the official said.

Among other things, the rules will spell out the list of documents that an individual will be required to show to prove his or her citizenship, which may include proof of religion.

Also Read: Kejriwal and Amanatullah ‘nowhere to be seen’, Shaheen Bagh protesters feel marginalised

MHA not planning any dialogue with protesters

During a summit organised by news channel Times Now earlier this month, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had offered to talk to the protesters. Shah had said he would grant time within three days to any protesters wanting to discuss issues related to the CAA with him. 

A second senior MHA official ThePrint spoke to, however, said the government was not “planning any such dialogue with the protesters”.

“There is no such meeting that was planned officially. The government is not planning any such dialogue with the protesters,” the officer added. “We have clarified our stand, these protests, too, will end soon.”

“The Supreme Court is looking at this issue. They have also appointed interlocutors to ensure that there is dialogue, what is the government’s role in this?” the official added. “We are not planning any such interaction.”

After Shah’s comments, a number of anti-CAA protesters, including those from Shaheen Bagh, began a march towards the home minister’s official residence at Krishna Menon Marg in Delhi for talks but they were stopped by police because they were yet to receive the requisite permissions. MHA sources had said at the time that they hadn’t received any requests for an appointment from the protesters.

Also Read: Shaheen Bagh and the new wave of protest art that’s sweeping across India