NEW DELHI: With protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act showing no signs of ebbing, the government said on Friday it was ready to accept suggestions, stressing that rules for implementation of the law were still in the making and yet to be issued.
“We are open to suggestions, if any, from anyone on the CAA rules. We are also trying to remove doubts of people about CAA through various ways,” said a top government official.
Seeking to clear the air around CAA and NRC, the official said anyone born in India before 1987 or whose parents were born before 1987 are bonafide citizens of India and they need not worry about CAA or the possible countrywide NRC.
He explained that Assam NRC is different because it is governed by the Assam Accord with a cut-off date of March 1971. He added all-India NRC will be under CAA, where provisions of naturalisation are different.
According to the 2004 amendments of the Citizenship Act, those who are born in India before July 1, 1987 or whose parents were born in the country before that year are considered Indians under naturalisation.
“We also appeal to people not to compare the CAA with the NRC in Assam as the cut-off date for Assam is different,” the official said. Top MHA officials said the Citizenship Act, 1955, and the subsequent amendments make it clear who can be an Indian citizen and the CAA, 2019, in no way alters that definition.
BJP leaders like Himanta Biswa Sarma have been proposing an early cut-off date for all India NRC.
“We have requested the Home Minister that Assam NRC should be rejected and we should be part of national exercise. Cut-off can be 1971 or 66, or 61. But it has to be same as the rest of the country. There can’t be two cut-off dates,” Sarma had said.
The Union Home Ministry spokesperson put out a tweet mentioning 1971 on a thread explaining concerns regarding the CAA.
“Indian citizens do not have to prove any ancestry by presenting documents like identity cards, birth certificates etc of parents/grand-parents dating back to pre-1971 situation,” the tweet said.
According to the 2004 amendments of the Citizenship Act, people of the country, except those in Assam, whose one parent is an Indian and neither is an illegal immigrant, are also considered Indian citizens.