For the first time, the Congress party on Thursday conceded that the Citizenship Amendment Act would not take away any individual’s citizenship. Senior leader Kapil Sibal made this admission on the floor of the Rajya Sabha while responding to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement about the Delhi riots. Instead, he sought to link the National Population Register to the issue of citizenship. On the other hand, Shah highlighted that several leaders from Congress had denounced CAA as anti-minority legislation. He again challenged the opposition lawmakers to point out anti-minority aspects in the CAA.
Kapil Sibal noted, “Home Minister, nobody is saying that the CAA will snatch away the citizenship of any person. We are not saying this.” He added, “The law says that when NPR will take place, 10 more questions will be asked. The enumerator will ask those questions, put a D- Doubtful. Then the inquiry will be started and this is not about Muslims, but about poor people.”
Amit Shah responded, “I am ready to tell you everything. Respected Chair, I can quote so many speeches of leaders from Kapil Sibal’s party who have said that CAA is against minorities. Tell us how is it against the minorities?”
The CAA was passed by both the Houses of Parliament in December 2019. It seeks to provide citizenship to the minority communities namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This will be applicable to the members of these communities having arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014.
Moreover, they will not be considered as illegal migrants. Additionally, the mandatory residence period for naturalised citizenship for these communities has been reduced to five years. The Congress party, which was at the forefront of the opposition contended that the Act discriminates on the basis of religion. Since the passage of this legislation, protests broke out across the country in protest.