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First batch of citizenship certificates issued under CAA

First batch of citizenship certificates issued under CAA

NEW DELHI: The Union Home Secretary, Ajay Kumar Bhalla, handed over the first set of citizenship certificates to eligible applicants under the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules 2024, on Wednesday, nearly two months after rules under the contentious law were notified to grant Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from three neighbouring countries.

Sources said 14 people were handed over the certificates symbolically at a special function held here while digitally signed certificates are also being sent to a “few hundred” other applicants through email.

The ceremony occurred in New Delhi, where several senior government officials, including Secretary Posts, Director (IB), and Registrar General of India, were present to mark the occasion.

Home Minister Amit Shah termed it a “historic day”, saying the decades-long wait of those who faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan is over.

Shah has been maintaining that no one can stop the implementation of the CAA as it is the law of the land. He accused the Opposition of misleading the people on the issue.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024, were officially announced by the Government of India on March 11, 2024. These rules delineate the application process, detailing the procedures to be followed by the District Level Committee (DLC) and the State Level Empowered Committee (EC) in processing citizenship applications.

The amendment particularly addresses the concerns of individuals belonging to minority communities—Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, and Christian—from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, fleeing persecution on religious grounds.

Under the framework established by the rules, District Level Committees, chaired by designated officers such as Senior Superintendents of Post or Superintendents of Post, have overseen the verification of documents submitted by applicants. Upon successful verification, the committees have administered the oath of allegiance to the applicants. Subsequently, the applications were forwarded to the State Level Empowered Committee, led by the Director of Census Operation. The entire process, from application submission to scrutiny and decision-making, has been conducted online, ensuring efficiency and transparency.

The ceremony saw the culmination of this meticulous process, as the State Level Empowered Committee in Delhi, headed by the Director of Census Operation, granted citizenship to 14 deserving applicants after thorough scrutiny. Director (Census Operation), Delhi, personally presented citizenship certificates to these individuals, symbolising their official integration into the Indian nation.

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