Indian Muslims need not worry: Govt

Indian Muslims need not worry: Govt

‘They continue to enjoy equal rights as Hindus’

New Delhi: The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday asserted that Indian Muslims need not worry as the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) will not impact their citizenship and has nothing to do with the community which enjoys equal rights as their Hindu counterparts. The ministry sought to allay fears of a section of Muslims and students regarding the CAA, making it clear that "no Indian citizen would be asked to produce any document to prove his citizenship after this Act."

"Indian Muslims need not worry as CAA has not made any provision to impact their citizenship and has nothing to do with the present 18 crore Indian Muslims, who have equal rights like their Hindu counterparts," a Home Ministry statement said.

The government on Monday notified the rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to fast-track citizenship for persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

In the statement, the home ministry said, “Due to the persecution of minorities in those three Muslim countries, the name of Islam was badly tarnished all around the world.

However, Islam, being a peaceful religion, never preaches or suggests hatred/ violence/ any persecution on religious ground”. This Act “protects Islam from being tarnished in the name of persecution”, it said.

Explaining the need of the law, the ministry said India does not have any pact or agreement with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh to repatriate migrants back to these countries. “This Citizenship Act doesn’t deal with the deportation of illegal immigrants and therefore the concern of a section of the people, including Muslims and students, that CAA is against Muslim minorities is unjustifiable,” it said. The ministry said there is no bar on Muslims from anywhere in the world to seek Indian citizenship under Section 6 of the Citizenship Act, which deals with citizenship by naturalisation.

“Without curtailing the freedom and opportunity of Indian Muslims to enjoy their rights as they have been usually practising and entertaining since Independence like other Indian citizens belonging to other religions, CAA 2019 has reduced the qualification period of application for citizenship from 11 to five years for the beneficiaries who had been persecuted on religious grounds in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan and who had entered India on or before December 31, 2014 with an aim to show a generous treatment to them,” it said.

Giving justification for the need to bring the CAA, the ministry said that to show mercy to the persecuted minorities of the three countries, this Act gives opportunity to them as per the evergreen generous culture of India to get Indian citizenship for their happy and prosperous future. “To customise the citizenship system and control the illegal migrants, there was need of this Act,” it said.

The ministry also made it clear that the CAA does not cancel the naturalisation laws and hence any person, including Muslim migrants, from any foreign country seeking to be an Indian citizen can apply for the same under the existing laws.

“This Act does not prevent any Muslim who is persecuted in those three Islamic countries for practising their version of Islam from applying for Indian citizenship under the existing laws,” it said. Protests erupted in some parts of the country, including Assam, on Tuesday against the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

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