WEST BENGAL: In a major development, Union Minister Shantanu Thakur has confirmed that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) will come into force across India within the next seven days. The CAA, which aims to grant citizenship to persecuted individuals from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, has become a controversial issue, creating political debate in the country.
Addressing a public gathering in Kakdwip, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, Thakur declared, "I can guarantee that in the next seven days, not just in West Bengal, but the CAA will be implemented across India." This statement has triggered a political showdown, with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of using CAA as a political tool to garner votes.
Slamming the BJP, Banerjee said, "They (BJP) are shouting CAA; this is politics. We gave citizenship to everyone and they (border people) get everything. They are citizens and that is why they are allowed." Vote.” The chief minister also warned border residents against accepting the "identity cards" issued by the BJP, saying it could lead to their inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The CAA, which was passed by Parliament in December 2019, has not been officially announced by the central government. Despite this, Union Home Minister Amit Shah recently reiterated the Centre's commitment to implement the CAA, saying "no one can stop it". At a rally in Kolkata, Amit Shah targeted Mamata Banerjee on issues of infiltration, corruption, political violence and appeasement and urged voters to vote for the BJP in the 2026 Assembly elections.
As the political scene heats up, reports suggest that the CAA rules is ready and will be announced long before the Lok Sabha elections are declared. An official revealed that CAA has developed an online portal, and the entire process will be digital, and applicants will have to declare the year of entry into India without travel documents.
As the country awaits the implementation of the CAA, divergent views and strategies have marked the political landscape, setting the stage for a potentially intense debate on citizenship and religious persecution on the days of in the coming season.