India has long granted citizenship to refugees; CAA is just a step towards a Hindu Rashtra | Caravan Magazine
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019 triggered a nationwide debate about illegal migrants and the claim to an Indian identity, but for over fifteen years before it was passed, the citizenship regime witnessed numerous developments that set the stage for the controversial law. In 2003, with LK Advani as the home minister, the Bharatiya Janata Party government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee proposed amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 to introduce a category of “illegal migrants” into the law, who would be prevented them from getting Indian citizenship. At the time, the law did not specify any exceptions for refugees fleeing persecution, treating them all as illegal migrants alike. With the CAA, the Narendra Modi government brought religious differences into the legal framework, protecting only six non-Muslim minority refugees from three neighbouring countries from being considered illegal migrants.