With the clear majority in Rajya Sabha and approval from his Excellency; the president of India, the Citizenship Amendment Bill is now a new Act in India. The hotly debated and polarizing bill seeks to amend the basic idea and amend the definition of illegal migrants for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have lived in India without proper validation. According to the new bill, the persecuted person of the enlisted religions will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years. For the opposition, the Act clearly discriminates against certain religions like Muslim and violates the equality enshrined in the constitution. The bill has been opposed in Assam and many other north eastern states as it puts their state under stress and threatens their indigenous and tribal people. Also, many states have declared not to accept the Act.
For Mr. Shah, the bill would have not been necessary if the congress party did not agree to the partition on the basis of religion. But India was never created on the basis on of religion, Pakistan was. Irony is that all the founders of India were committed to secular state, irrespective of any religion. The basic argument of Mr. Shah still collapses because Afghanistan was never the part of pre-partition India. India is under big economy crisis and GDP is dwindling, he will never talk about it.
For a concerned citizen like me, this act is more like a partition where India will be refuge to all others religion hurting Muslim identity. It seeks to legally establish Muslim as second class citizens of this great nation by providing special treatment to other immigrants. This Act seems more like a well-conceived Hindu- Muslim issue after the closure of much debated Ayodhya case, which won many parties many elections. Is this a new Hindu-Muslim political gambit of Mr. Shah?
In state like Assam, what was the need of very expensive NRC drive when CAB was to be implemented? The cutoff date of NRC was March 24, 1971 and hilariously that of CAB is just December 31, 2014, difference being that NRC was not based on religion. Assam is already flooded with outsiders like all other north eastern states. The new citizenship amendment act will surely threaten the cultural, political and linguistic identities of the state.
Here, what really struck my mind is – Are Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians the only persecuted groups in those countries? Why are Muslim left out? What about Rohingya Muslims, Ahmedia Muslim and Shias who face persecution in Bangladesh and Pakistan? Also, Hindus in Burma and Hindus and Christian Tamils of Sri Lanka faces the same persecution. Why are these people left out? On what basis the new Act will identify people of the persecuted groups? There are many unclear questions this govt. still needs to answers.
Today, more than forty % of north eastern states is populated by people from other states. The best example of this is Arunachal. In big towns like Itanagar, Naharlagun, Pasighat, Aalo and Ziro the local population is lower. The influx of outsiders will double. The CAB will have huge negative effect on us directly or indirectly. The implementation of this bill in Assam will surely thrash us badly in days to come. If we don’t stand today, tomorrow; it will hit us back for sure. And our Govt. forgot to understand that India is already a crowded nation and will be the most populous country soon. And here, we enacted an Act to house outsiders into this crowded room.
The article 14 of the Indian constitution ensures equality to all persons which cannot be reshaped by any parliament. The Govt. needs to think secular and tweak this new Act to ensure growth and harmony and stop the nation from internal violence and resentment and it’s high time, the Govt. needs to address real issues of nation like poor economy, unemployment, poor hunger index and falling GDP which this Govt is always running away from.