Clarification on Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019

  • @kw
  • 04 Jan 2020

The Citizenship Amendment bill looks into the problem of illegal immigrants who were forced to take refuge in India on the basis of religion from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Christian Community. These illegal immigrants have been living in India without documents with the cutoff date December 2014. As per Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 these illegal migrants shall be granted citizenship within six years. Till now it was 12 years of residential status was necessary for neutralization. CAB (Citizenship amendment bill) won\'t apply to areas under the sixth schedule of the Constitution – which deals with autonomous tribal-dominated regions in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. The bill will also not apply to states that have the inner-line permit regime (Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram).

Supreme Court has taken note of this controversial law though did not pass the stay order but asked Centre to file a reply against the petition that say it violates the Constitution. Petitioners and challenged that the bill discriminates against Muslims and dilutes the right to equality explicitly mentioned in Indian Constitution. It is necessary to understand the difference between illegal infiltrators and refugees for religious cause.

Who should be the Beneficiary?

After the partition of India in 1947 India welcomed refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh) and Pakistan and again after 1971 large number of non-Muslim community shifted to India. These non-Muslim communities continued to be oppressed in these Muslim States and are forced to seek shelter in India due to maltreatment on the ground of religion. The CAA is to protect such people for being prosecuted for bearing the tag of being illegal migrants.

Reason for Bringing the Bill by Centre

Centre has a logical explanation for excluding Muslims for citizenship in India under Citizenship Amendment bill as are not subjected to any discrimination on the basis of religion in Muslim –majority nations. It is the minority groups that have come to India escaping persecution in Muslim-majority nations. However, the bill has ignored all religious minorities like Amelia Muslim sect and even Shias in Pakistan, Hindu & Rohingya Muslims in Burma, and Hindu and Christian Tamils in Sri Lanka have been ignored, though they also face religious discrimination as a minority groups in these countries. The government responds that Muslims can seek refuge in Islamic nations, but has not answered the other questions.

Clarification on Wrong Perception of People

Some group of people in India feel that the Bill tantamount to Partition on the basis of religion. The Citizenship Amendment bill would not have been necessary if Pre-Independence India was not divided on the basis of religion. India was created as a Hindu dominated Nation though was declared as a secular state but Pakistan was made a Muslim State which led to partition. All the founders of India were committed to a secular state, where all citizens irrespective of religion enjoyed full membership. Either way, this logic for the CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill) also collapses because Afghanistan was not part of pre-Partition India.


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