The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is examining the types of documents a person from a persecuted minority community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will require while applying for Indian citizenship under the new law.
According to the newly-amended Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), those who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 after having faced religious persecution in their native country will not be treated as illegal immigrants but would be eligible for Indian citizenship. However, it will be applicable only to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities.
According to a report in The Economic Times, the proposed guidelines suggest that there will be separate columns for the country (Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan) and community (Hindu, Sikh, Christians, Parsis, Buddhist or Jains) which applicants will have to declare while seeking citizenship under the newly amended Citizenship Amendment Act.
Marriage certificates issued by a gram panchayat or municipal corporation in Pakistan are among the documents that are under consideration, the report suggests.
The new rules are expected to emphasise on a detailed Intelligence Bureau (IB) or Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) report. Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
According to reports, currently, 31,313 people belonging to the aforementioned communities, who were given Long Term Visa over claims of religious persecution, stand to gain from CAA.
The number of immediate beneficiaries was provided by Intelligence Bureau (IB) to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2016 version of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The JPC report, citing the IB, was tabled in Parliament in January 2018.
"As per our records, there are 31,313 persons belonging to minority communities (Hindus: 25,447, Sikhs: 5,807, Christians: 55, Buddhists: 2 and Parsis: 2) who have been granted a long term visa on the basis of their claim of religious persecution in their respective countries and want Indian citizenship. Hence, these persons will be immediate beneficiaries," the IB Director had informed the panel.
While CAA has received the President’s assent and is now a law, it has not been notified yet.
The notification on the rules would subsume previous orders issued by the Home Ministry for grant of long-term visas and citizenship.
It may also propose a mechanism to overcome challenges posed by some states, the report adds. Chief ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have said that they would not implement CAA.
The power to grant citizenship rests with the Centre. However, it delegates the responsibility to district magistrates or collectors in states.
The ET report cites officials as saying that CAA also allows the Centre to set the conditions, restrictions and decide the manner for granting certificate of citizenship.