Citizenship Amendment Act is back in focus once again, and may be implemented from January next year. An indication on this was given by BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya while he was targetting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for not being sympathetic towards refugees in her state.

Kailash Vijayvargiya told media persons, "We are hopeful that the process of granting citizenship to refugees under the CAA will begin from January next year. The Centre has passed the CAA with the honest intention of granting citizenship to persecuted refugees coming to our country from neighbouring nations."

According to the Centre, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act will help non-Muslim refugees from three Muslim-dominated neighbouring countries if they fled to India because of religious persecution.

The Hindu refugees in West Bengal

West Bengal has over 30 lakh people belonging to the Matua community.

The Matuas are Hindu refugees who migrated from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) post Partition of India, in the 1950s.

The Matuas form a major part of the refugee population in West Bengal. 

That explains why Union Home Minister Amit Shah chose to have lunch at a Matua household during his recent visit to the state.

CAA implementation post pandemic?

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had during his visit to West Bengal in November reiterated that the government had not put the the Citizen Amendment Act in the backburner.

He had, in fact, linked CAA's implementation with the pandemic.

"The citizenship law will be implemented and refugees will get citizenship. It depends on the coronavirus pandemic. But it will be done. The law is in place," he said.

Critics of the law continue to voice their concern, stating that it discriminates against Muslims and violates secular tenets of the Constitution.

'BJP is fooling people of Bengal'

Reacting to Vijayvargiya's remarks, West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim said that the BJP is trying to fool the people of the state.

'What does the BJP mean by citizenship? If the Matuas are not citizens, how come they voted in assembly and parliamentary polls year after year? The BJP should stop fooling the people of West Bengal,' he said.