Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai tells Parliament that CAA has nothing to do with NRC contradicting Amit Shah’s statement of ‘chronology’
NEW DELHI — The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday said that there is no provision of detention centres under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Indian Citizens (NRC).
“Detention centres are set up by state governments and Union Territory [UT] administrations as per their local requirements to detain illegal immigrants and foreigners, some of whom may have completed their sentence and their deportation to their native place is pending for want of travel documents,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament.
The minister also clarified in reply to another question that the government has not yet decided to go for the countrywide citizenship test under the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Rai reiterated that the ministry has instructed the state and UT administrations to comply with the Supreme Court directions of 2012 that foreign nationals who had completed their sentence shall be released from jail immediately and be kept in an appropriate place with restricted movement pending the deportation/repatriation.
In December 2019, the Modi government made an amendment to the Citizenship Act 1955 allowing speedy naturalisation of refugees from neighbouring countries who have arrived in India before December 31, 2014. According to the law, the refugees from religious communities Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian who were facing persecution in their home countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan can apply for Indian citizenship. But the amendment excluded Muslims. This triggered a public protests movement with Muslims out on roads demanding the rollback of the move. They feared that the law, if coupled with the proposed NRC, could become a tool for their disenfranchisement.
The minister stated in the parliament that CAA has nothing to do with NRC. This statement contradicts the earlier statements by Home Minister Amit Shah who had said that there is a chronology under which CAA will be followed by NRC. His chronology remarks triggered massive uproar as people believed that the amendment was brought in with a nefarious design to put Muslims residing in India for centuries at disadvantage.
In December, the MHA said that the rules for CAA are still under preparation.