It took just three days after the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) came into effect on 10 January for the Uttar Pradesh government, led by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, to send a list of over 32,000 potential beneficiaries to the centre.
The central government issued a gazette notification on Friday night and on Monday, Uttar Pradesh energy minister and government spokesperson Shrikant Sharma said that these refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh have been identified in 21 districts and the exercise is being carried out in the entire state. Most of them were based in Pilibhit, according to reports.
The state government’s move raises several questions because the central government has not yet notified rules for the implementation of the CAA.
NDTV spoke to officials in the district administration, who said they started surveying people last month on the basis of an unsigned and undated document.
The document, carried by NDTV in its report, asks for a person’s name, father’s name, where they stay in India, when they came to India and from which country. It also asks for a description of the atrocities that the person faced.
The new citizenship law seeks to grant citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. When combined with the National Register of Citizens, there are concerns that it may lead to discrimination against Muslims.
Several people included in the list told NDTV that they were only asked to show their Aadhaar card by the government representatives and not any migration proof.
In an interview to HuffPost India’s Betwa Sharma, minister Shrikant Sharma said that the Uttar Pradesh government started working on the list from long back — as soon as Parliament passed the Bill.
When asked how the state government could do this identification when the rules for the implementation of the CAA have not been notified, Shrikant Sharma said:
“There are a lot of people who have already been registered. The refugees who are living here. Many of them are already identified. They are already on the record. But there are some people whose visas have expired and they are living in hiding. More names have to be added to the list.”
You can read the full NDTV report here.