Business India ×

Published on: Nov. 30, 2020, 5:01 p.m.
Whither CAA
  • Much to the chagrin of the government, anti-CAA protests became very popular

By Rakesh Joshi. Executive Editor, Business India

It has been a year since the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed with much fanfare by Parliament. The passage of the legislation, however, had sparked off major protests throughout the country and even led to rioting in Delhi. Some 70 people were killed in protests that erupted across the country after the Act was passed.

Octogenarian Bilkis, one of the dadis of Shaheen Bagh was among several other elderly women who became the face of anti-CAA protests in the national capital. She recently even made it to BBC’s top 100 women of the year list. The government had all along defended the legislation. But for some strange reason, it is yet to frame the rules for implementing the CAA.

According to the government, the Act was meant to fast-track citizenship to persecuted Hindu and other minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The other minorities included Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists, Jains and Christians. Critics, however, raised objections on the ground that the law does not grant such eligibility to Muslims from those three countries all of which are Muslim-majority countries. Also, the Act was the first time that religion had been overtly used as a criterion for citizenship under Indian law.

A batch of Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan recently had to turn back after their hopes of getting citizenship in India under CAA were dashed. Reportedly, the refugees on long term visa (LTV) were hoping to benefit from the CAA. They ended up facing financial hardships and administrative apathy instead. 

Allegations galore

Media reports quoted Shreedhar, a 37-year-old refugee, who came to India from Umerkot district in Pakistan’s Sindh province and has been staying on a long-term visa, as saying: “For the past four years, I have been running to FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) Jodhpur and home ministry in New Delhi to get visas for my wife and children. I have given up now and want to go back.”

There were allegations that government officials were found to be indulging in harassment and corruption during field verification in some cases. This added to the woes of the refugees. “We came to India in search of better livelihood. For the past one year, we have been trying to get LTV but to no avail,” said Mithoon, who belongs to Hyderabad in Sindh. “My family is facing financial trouble due to lockdown and Covid-19. They have now decided to go back,” he added.


The refugees will now be returning to Pakistan as part of a group of Pakistani nationals, including those stranded in India because of Covid-19. The Union home ministry has given them permission to return to Pakistan via the Wagah border – granting them ‘no objection’ to their ‘exit’ and said that those who were staying in India on LTV or whose application for grant of LTV was under consideration with the authorities would be required to obtain an exit permit from the FRRO/FRO concerned.

Several reasons are being ascribed to the deliberate delay in implementing the CAA. Diplomatic sources said that the advent of a Democratic dispensation in the US has made the government circumspect. It may be recalled that, after the passage of the CAA Bill, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom had even called for sanctions against Home Minister Amit Shah and ‘other principal leadership’.

However, the ministry of external affairs issued a statement in response, stating that the statement made by the USCIRF was ‘neither accurate nor warranted’, and that neither the CAA nor the NRC sought to strip Indian citizens of citizenship. Leading Democrats had turned the heat on New Delhi, with the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs also questioning the intent of the bill and noting that “(a)ny religious test for citizenship undermines this most basic democratic tenet.

The Trump administration, however, chose to brush the matter under the carpet. On 19 December, however, the US Secretary of State said that the US respects Indian democracy since it has a ‘robust’ internal debate on the Citizenship Act. 

Another reason for the government going slow is the concern expressed in the highest quarters in Bangladesh over the CAA. Sheikh Hasina was among those who voiced her disapproval of the CAA and several ministers had cancelled their visits to India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Dhaka in March on the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence. Clearly, CAA should not cast its shadow over this visit, which is important in view of China’s overtures to India’s neighbours.

Don't miss this

Cover Feature

Once in a lifetime

The LIC IPO is a huge opportunity for the government as well as investors and a game changer in the stock markets

Corporate Report

BL Agro goes beyond ‘Bail Kolhu’

With its marketing drive, edible oil manufacturer BL Agro is drawing attention

Special Report

Is the cheap gas dream going bust?

War upsets both political and economic calculations

Corporate Report

RR Kabel builds traction

The company is all geared up to expand its share in the domestic electrical goods market

Our letter to you, once a week.
Register with The CSR Weekly for free!

Big Move
Season of Mergers
India Inc.: Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

Real Estate



Corporate Report



Social Responsibility

Company Feature

Classrooms go live, thanks to Airtel

Published on April 5, 2022, 11:25 a.m.

Despite the pandemic, Bharti Foundation has ensured that children are not deprived of learning opportunities


Collaborative excellence

Published on April 4, 2022, 8:53 p.m.

A policy perspective for meeting SDG-9 in low resource setting of developing economies


Innovation and infrastructure

Published on April 4, 2022, 8:10 p.m.

India is well-positioned to become a model of corporate sustainability


‘More for less’

Published on April 1, 2022, 10:12 p.m.

The merger of technology and SDGs – A game-changing win of the era

Climate Change


Carbon Clean gets a fillip

Published on May 17, 2022, 3:56 p.m.

US oil giant Chevron to invest $150m in London-based clean-tech firm


Hunger looms large in India

Published on May 17, 2022, 3:33 p.m.

The rise in average temperature is likely to impact agricultural production


Adani Group bags Ambuja Cements, ACC

Published on May 17, 2022, 3:13 p.m.

Adani Group bagging the deal is being seen as a major win for the conglomerate

Renewable Energy

Tata Power clinches 300 MW solar project

Published on May 17, 2022, 2:49 p.m.

The project worth Rs1,731crore is located in Rajasthan

Stay ahead of the times.
Register with The Climate Change Weekly for free!