Why I Oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act



23.12.2019 - Puducherry, 

December 19. Khudai Khidmatgar India Puducherry team joint protest against CAA and NRC in Puducherry, in front of the Anna Statue near the Old Bus Stand.

by Inamul Hasan, Social Activist

Primarily, the Citizenship Amendment Act is against the Indian Constitution which guarantees that every citizen of India should be treated with Equality and that there will be no discrimination based on Religion, Caste, Race, and Gender. The right to life-(decent and dignified living) will be ensured for every citizen.

Announcing an Act which excludes the second largest population of this nation shows the biased nature towards Muslims by rightwing forces, which are rooted and working along the line of the British policy of divide and rule. They are proving at every occasion that they are the puppets of Colonial Power, speaking on fake nationalism, spoiling the name of the Hindu religion and India.

The Citizenship Amendment Act says – minorities from three Muslim nations who entered India before December 31, 2014, will be given citizenship, without submission of any document for the above. We appreciate this Act, but not in the religious line and it needs to include the whole region, including Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Tibet, and Myanmar if the government is really worrying about the minorities.

The background of this act is to provide citizenship to non-Muslims whose names were left out in the recently declared NRC list in Assam. There are 19lakhs of people whose names were out of the NRC list. Among them, most are Hindus, coded as Bengali Hindus. Based on the CAA, the Hindus will get citizenship and Muslims won't.

Coming to the question of the exclusion of Muslims from citizenship, you can see the Assam NRC list. You can get lots of evidence, a  few among them are the family members of the  5th president of India, Fakrudin Ali Ahamed, a family declared as a non- citizen. Likewise, a few militaries and army generals who fought for India during the Kargil War from the Muslim community were rejected from citizenship.

Once a person is declared as a non-citizen, he or she has to approach The Foreign Tribunal, and if they are denied, they can proceed to the High Court, then to the Supreme Court. Do you know?  All these processes would take nearly four to ten months. Think of a daily wage or a widow. How can they manage the expenses and their daily life at these difficult times? More than 30 people have committed suicide during the last 2 months due to this unlawful act.

Twelve documents should be presented to prove citizenship. We went to Assam in 2017 with Justice Rajendar Sachar, identified the whole issue and met the victims. They don't have documents and the ones they are submitting do not match due to spelling errors in the name and the change of addresses in various documents. A majority of the Muslim community living in the rural areas are illiterates and migrant laborers; they are unaware of maintaining documents.

The Union Home Minister clearly mentioned that the NRC will be implemented across India until 2024. Assam is the testing area for the Government. If such a case happens, educated and urban Muslims will somehow be protected. The question is raised about the illiterate, labor class, Muslims living in rural areas and indigenous groups in North-Eastern states.

The Investigation Bureau of India says that the immediate beneficiaries of this law would be around 30,000 people. Why is there a need to make such an amendment in the Citizenship Act which is not at all useful for even one percent of the Indian population?

Better that the Government takes back the act or stops its implementation.

Inamul Hasan who resides in New Delhi wrote this article from Puducherry after the protest against CAA. He is the National Secretary of the Khudai Khidmatgar Organization (Servants of God) founded by Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar khan mailto:inam2235@gmail.com

Background: The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 was passed by the Parliament of India last December 11, 2019, amending the Citizenship Act of 1955. The CAA allows Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities fleeing persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. However, Muslims were not given such eligibility. This Act is the first time that religion has been used as a criterion for citizenship under Indian law.

 The religious persecution of minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians has been a serious and widespread problem in Pakistan. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is at the helm of the Indian government, had promised in previous election manifestos to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from neighboring countries. With the CAA 2019, migrants who entered India as of December 31, 2014, and had suffered “religious persecution or fear of religious persecution” in their country of origin are made eligible for citizenship. The amendment also relaxed the residency requirement for naturalization of these migrants from eleven years to five. Immediate beneficiaries of the CAA will be 31,313 refugees: 25,447 Hindus, 5,807 Sikhs, 55 Christians, 2 Buddhists, and 2 Parsis, according to the Intelligence Bureau of India.

 Widely criticized as discriminating on the basis of religion, in particular for excluding Muslims, the passage of this legislation has caused large-scale protests in India. Assam and other northeastern states have seen violent demonstrations against it. In other parts of India, protestors said it discriminated against Muslims and demanded that Indian citizenship be granted to Muslim refugees and immigrants. Major protests were held at universities. Several protesters have died, protesters and police personnel were injured, public and private property was damaged,  people detained, and local internet and communication infrastructure were suspended in certain areas.

 Footnotes: A lakh (/læk, lɑːk/; abbreviated L; sometimes written Lac or Lacs) is a unit in the Indian numbering system equal to one hundred thousand (100,000; scientific notation: 105). In the Indian convention of digit grouping, it is written as 1,00,000.

 The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register of all Indian citizens as mandated by The Citizenship Act of 1955 and as amended in 2003. It was implemented for the state of Assam between 2013–2014. The government plans to implement it for the rest of India in 2021