CAA rules won’t consider religious persecution: HBS

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Those who have not applied for inclusion of their names in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not be eligible for consideration for the grant of citizenship according to the rules and procedure being drawn up, North East Democratic Alliance chairman and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said.

The application for NRC will be a major criterion for claiming citizenship under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). There will be a limited number of windows to prove citizenship and the same documents used in the NRC exercise may be allowed to be used while applying for the CAA, he said.

Sarma met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his North Block office here today during the signing of an agreement to settle the issue of Bru refugees.

Talking to newsmen on the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Sarma said he has learnt that the rules of the CAA are almost ready and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will take two to four days to finalise them.

“People will not have to wait… We understand that nobody can bring the proof of religious persecution but we will give them a small window to prove that he was in Assam before 2014,” he said.

“But the Government of India may independently make some assessment through its agencies to ascertain whether that person was a victim of religious persecution… The inhouse process may take place,” he added.

“The work on the rules has started. The State government has held discussion with the Centre. And once the rules are ready, the State government will be in a position to remove the misconception about the number of people who would get citizenship,” he said. About the rules, he said there will be a small window to establish citizenship under the CAA.

“If one has not applied for NRC then it will be assumed that he was not present in Assam on or before the cut-off date of December 31, 2014,” Sarma said.

Besides, there will be other documents that a person may be asked to provide to prove his case, he said, adding that grant of citizenship under the CAA will not be automatic.

Asked about the anti-CAA agitation, Sarma said it would be wrong to say that there is no agitation, but the government has been able to put across its point of view and “its programme has had a major impact”.

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