Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan & Bangladesh too got citizenship: Nirmala Sitharaman – Times of India

CHENNAI: Pointing out that states cannot refuse to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act as “that is against law and the Constitution”, Union finance minister said here on Sunday that as many as 2,838 Pakistanis, 914 Afghans and 172 Bangladeshis had been given citizenship in the past six years.
Reeling out statistics issued by the Union home ministry, the finance minister added that 391 Afghans and 1,595 Pakistanis had been given citizenship in the past two years. “Obviously, they include Muslims too,” Sitharaman said, while adding that 566 Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh were given citizenship since 2014.
Participating in a discussion organised by the Chennai Citizens’ Forum and New India Forum, Sitharaman said, “Political parties can make a political statement by passing resolutions against CAA in the assembly, but states cannot refuse to implement it.”
She said there was an attempt by the opposition to distort the truth and create fear about the CAA. “Every question that the opposition raised in Parliament about the CAA was answered…
The CAA is to offer citizenship and not to deny citizenship to anyone,” Sitharaman said.
The Citizenship Act of 1955 continues to remain in force and citizenship will continue to be given to people if they fulfill the conditions under the four categories — birth, descendency, registration and naturalization. “Just by bringing in changes and amendments does not make the existing categories go away,” she pointed out.
Sitharaman said the people who have been granted citizenship are the ones who had come to India from the then East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh. “People like them had to be given citizenship and hence the amendment to the Citizenship Act,” she said.
She said the condition was very pitiable in camps where Sri Lankan Tamils live. “Political parties raising the issue for not granting citizenship (to Sri Lankan Tamils) will not talk about these. No human rights organisation will speak about them. Since 1964, more than four lakh Sri Lankans have been granted citizenship. Sri Lankan Tamils living in camps, around 95,000 of them, too will be given citizenship in the coming years,” she said.
Clarifying that the CAA had nothing to do with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), Sitharaman said the NRC had been implemented in Assam as per the directions of the Supreme Court. “There have been no talks about the NRC being implemented across India and whether the process will be the same as done in Assam. There have been no talks at all.”
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