Taking a completely different stance from allies NCP and Congress, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray backed the Citizenship Amendment Act. He stated that the law did not take away anyone’s citizenship. Speaking exclusively to Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Thackeray agreed that this was a law to provide citizenship to persecuted minorities from other countries. He also asserted that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government would not bring in a resolution in the state Assembly against the CAA. At the same time, he urged the Centre to take care of the housing and employment of the persecuted minorities.
Uddhav Thackeray remarked, “First, we will talk about the CAA. We have persecuted minorities in our neighbouring countries. In fact, they are Hindus. Pakistan and Bangladesh are Islamic countries. CAA is not a law to drive out people of the country. Amit Shah has said that this is a law to give citizenship. I agree with that. It is a law to give citizenship to the persecuted people of our neighbouring countries.”
He added, “There is no reason to pass a resolution in the Assembly that we will not implement the CAA. Because I will reiterate once again that the CAA does not contain any provision to throw out people from here. It is to assimilate the persecuted Hindus in our country. But the Centre should take up the responsibility of their shelter and employment.”
Thackeray’s big declaration on the CAA comes even as Shiv Sena adopted a different position in both Houses of the Parliament. For instance, while the Sena MPs backed the legislation in the Lok Sabha, its party MPs including Sanjay Raut refused to participate in the voting process in the Upper House of the Parliament. On the other hand, both NCP and Congress ministers in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government have made it clear that the CAA and the NRC would not be implemented in the state.
The CAA 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.