Amid the huge uproar over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA), Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that it would be “impossible” to provide proof of religious persecution under the amended Act.
The Minister opined that for a Bangladeshi to prove religious persecution he/she has to go to Bangladesh to collect a copy of the police report and it is likely that the designated PS will not procure the report.
Speaking in the same lines the Minister said that the Centre might use its agencies to internally find out if people applying for citizenship under the act had faced religious persecution in the mentioned countries or not.
The statements came amid the widespread anti-citizenship act protests across the country including Assam. Although there are no reports of violence, people have resorted to peace protests to show their dissent for the legislation.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), spearheading the anti-CAA protests in the state, has expressed strong resentment at the minister’s remark. The students’ Union accused the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government of playing ‘divide and rule’ policy as far as the implementation of Act is concerned. The AASU leader alleged that by “imposing” the illegal immigrants on Assam, the BJP was trying to consolidate its vote bank.
Sarma also said that the applicants for citizenship under the act will have to submit “three proofs” to be eligible. “The applicants will have to submit documentary evidence about their religion, entry to India prior to 2014 and documents showing their citizenship prior to entering India,” the minister was quoted as saying.
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a gazette notification for implementation of the act on January 10th, 2020. The Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 on January 11th, 2020.
The act seeks to grant Indian citizenship to the people belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Christian, Buddhist and Parsi, who have become victims of religious persecution in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh and exerted into India on or before December 31st, 2014 and lived without documentation.
Photo Credit: Himanta Biswa Sarma