India Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday in Bengal that The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is a reality and it will be implemented as soon as Covid tapers off. he said making it clear that the controversial citizenship law is back on the Centre's agenda.
Speaking at a public meeting in Siliguri in North Bengal, Amit Shah accused Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of "spreading rumours" that the new citizenship law would not be enforced, reports NDTV.
"I have come to North Bengal today. I want to make it clear that the Trinamool Congress is spreading rumours that the CAA will not be implemented. I want to say that as soon as the Covid wave abates we will implement CAA on the ground," Amit Shah said.
"Mamata didi, did you want the infiltration to continue? But I want to tell you the CAA was a reality and it will remain a reality and the TMC cannot do anything about it," added the Home Minister.
Mamata Banerjee reacted instantly to Amit Shah's statement.
"This is their plan. Why are they not bringing the bill to Parliament? They are not coming in 2024, I am telling you. We don't want any citizens rights to suffer. Unity is our strength. He has come after one year. Har baar aate hain ganda baat karte hain (Every time they come here, they talk rubbish)," the Chief Minister said.
The CAA was at the heart of massive protests in parts of the country in late 2019 and early 2020, months before the Covid outbreak spurred lockdowns and other restrictions.
The law, widely criticised as discriminatory as it makes religion a factor for nationality, seeks to fast-track citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants who came to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan before 2015.
Critics say the law, along with a planned National Register of Citizens or NRC, will result in lakhs of Muslims losing their citizenship. The Centre, however, asserts that no Indian will lose their citizenship.
Amit Shah, addressing an event earlier, had said it was difficult to stop infiltration and smuggling without the support of the local administration.
"It is difficult to stop infiltration and smuggling without the support of the local administration. But we have faith that soon a political situation would develop where you will get that support due to public pressure. Everybody will be forced to extend all support," Mr Shah said, taking a swipe at the Mamata Banerjee government.