CAA rules will not consider religious persecution, says BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma

Senior BJP leader and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that those applying for citizenship under the new legislation will be unable to prove that they had faced religious persecution but the Centre will come up with a way to verify their claims.

CAA rules will not consider religious persecution, says BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma

Amid the ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in different parts of the country, including Assam, senior BJP leader and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that those applying for citizenship under the new legislation will be unable to prove that they had faced religious persecution but the Centre will come up with a way to verify their claims.

"There can be no proof of religious persecution. But they will need proof that they came before 2014. How can there be proof of religious persecution? Will any police station in Bangladesh give them a document that says they faced religious persecution?" he said.

"But the Indian government will have some in-house processes to check whether the place that they are coming from had any incident of atrocities against minorities," Sarma added.

The CAA came into effect last week and it promises citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh before December 31, 2014. The critics of the CAA have been repeatedly claiming that it makes religion a criterion to grant citizenship and this is against the principles of the Indian Constitution.

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In Assam, the anti-CAA protesters have been claiming that the new legislation will prove harmful for the indigenous communities as it would give citizenship to lakhs of immigrants who have come in from Bangladesh over the decades.

But the BJP-led government at the Centre has maintained that the law is essential to help those who have faced religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Several states including Kerala, West Bengal and Punjab have said that the CAA will not be implemented in there state. It is to be noted that Kerala government has also filed a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the CAA. Several other organisations and individuals have also approached the SC to declare the CAA as 'unconstitutional' and the apex court is scheduled to hear the matter on January 22.