After the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed as a law on December 11, 2019, the country has been rocked by nation-wide protests.
The law which seeks to amend the definition of illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have lived in India without documentation. The protesters have alleged that the law is 'anti-secular' for not providing citizenship for Muslims, discriminating against them on religious grounds.
In the midst of this, a priest in Telangana has demanded citizenship under the CAA, for the diety.
The head priest at Chilkoor Balaji Temple on the banks of Osman Sagar in Hyderabad, CS Rangarajan, has asked for citizenship for the deity 'Balaji Lord Venkateswara.'
“Give citizenship to the deity of the famous Chilkur temple Balaji Lord Venkateswara," Rangarajan told The Times of India.
His argument was the same as one used for 'Ram Lalla' in court: Every deity is considered a minor and has to be represented in court by a priest, trustee or the executive officer. "Under Section 5(4) of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act a minor can obtain citizenship rights, so deities of all the temples can be given citizenship rights under this provision. Register all Hindu deities like Venkateswara Swamy in Tirumala, Ayyappa Swamy in Sabarimala, and Padmanabhaswamy in Kerala as citizens under Section 5(4) of CAA," he argued.
The Chilkur Balaji Temple is popularly known as "Visa Balaji Temple," is one of the oldest temples in Hyderabad built during the time of Madanna and Akkanna, the uncles of Bhakta Ramadas.
The temple was nicknamed such after it became popular for granting wishes "for clearing US visa."