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Is India Ready For A Surge In Hindu Immigrants From Other Countries?

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By Monica Islam:

If news reports are to be believed, there is currently an influx of refugee immigrants, especially of Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist origins, into the state of India under the leadership of Narendra Modi. Reportedly, more than 4,000 Hindus and Sikhs from neighbouring countries, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, have been granted Indian citizenship within a year. While Firstpost’s editor-in-chief very patriotically touts this step as India’s generosity, there are many concerns which need to be addressed by the government.

immigrants

Firstly, this immigration plan appears to be a replica of the model pioneered by Israel which advocated for a safe abode for persecuted Jews. The model is based on strong nationalism and communalism. In case of Israel, what started out as an innocent escape route for oppressed Jews in Europe has now turned into a battleground for settlement rights and identity issues. Arab Israelis, both Christians and Muslims, routinely complain of marginalization in the country. The world is expectant that such will not be the case in India where the rights of Indian Muslims will be threatened.

Secondly, the inclusion of refugees must not be based on their religious beliefs (unless they are facing religious persecution). Instead, it must meet the need of the hour. Right now, there are many apolitical, religion neutral cases of citizenship in India which are pending for as long as nine to sixteen years! Additionally, there is the Rohingya community, which is the most persecuted one in the world, perishing at sea. There is also the question of secularism in India. How can a religiously-neutral land proclaim unwavering allegiance to the Hindu community?

Thirdly and most importantly, is India, with the second largest population in the world, ready for a politically-motivated addition of more citizens? Already it is alleged that the Rohingya Muslim refugee population is receiving little support in India. Furthermore, one of the biggest slums of the world, Dharavi, happens to be located in the country. Apart from poverty, there is also the issue of integration and social cohesion of the immigrants. Does being Hindu automatically translate into being Indian? (If yes, then not only is secularism, as pointed out earlier, under threat, but so is religious minority rights as members of other religious groups will have to constantly prove their loyalty to India.)

Narendra Modi continues to defend his stance by speaking of national goodwill and protecting minority rights, but fails to explain how he plans to tackle the aforementioned concerns. Immigration is a burning issue in many developed countries, such as France and United Kingdom. There are fierce national debates relating to immigration in each of those countries. We would expect the same to occur in India. But not if there is any discrepancy in the reported statistics (allegedly, 600 as opposed to 4,000 Hindus have been granted Indian citizenship) in an attempt to boost the public image of Narendra Modi’s leadership.

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  1. Abhi

    Firstly the title and the article seems to be two different story.
    The title talks about India’s preparedness for the increasing immigrants, whereas the article talks about the threat to secularism, threat to minorities, little mention about dharavi(out of context) and lastly about rohingya Muslim.

    The main agenda of the article seems to be a question that if immigrants (Hindu immigrant as the writer has stressed upon) are given the Indian citizenship then why not the Rohingya Muslim.

    The immigrants from Pakistan and Afghan who have fled to India are also minority in the respective country. The plight they go through is similar to the Rohingya Muslim. Its just that al jajeera broadcast never made a documentary on that. The Rohingya Muslim originally belonged to Bangladesh and Its Bangladesh who should look after them and other countries like Malaysia, Thailand, etc where the boats are stranded currently.

    As far as the title goes and some of the points noted by the writer like the Israel state, the poverty in India. Immigrants should be a total no no for India irrespective of their religion.

    Lastly if Hindu immigrant are not given a place in India then which country can they move too. As all the neighbouring countries around India are non secular country the first reason and the only reason for which they fled from there in the first place. In none of the neighbouring countries they would receive proper treatment apart from India.

    P. S How does 4000 Immigrants affect the right of minorities in India? Please throw some light. The two examples given regarding the delay in granting citizenship is due to technical reason and not due to discrimination as mentioned in the links provided and stated by the govt officials.

    India was, still and will always be a secular country.

    1. Monica I.

      Hi,

      While I appreciate many of the things you said, I disagree when you say that the agenda of this article was to question that “if Hindu immigrants are granted citizenship, then why not Muslims?”

      Let me clarify the agenda- it was to include diverse perspectives, to inspire national debate in India about this, and to ask for more information from govt. as to how exactly it intends to protect the rights of refugees and others.

      I agree that I’ve highlighted the concerns more in this article. The intent is to find out if India is prepared to tackle those concerns. The benefits of this immigration have been already covered in details by First Post and I have included the link for the benefit of readers. In one article, I can only take one stance, right? I have been asked to be more specific by the way. 😀

      If the masses & experts think this immigration is practical for India, then well and good. If not, the govt. should rework its decision.

      If India can give proper shelter to 4,000 immigrants (and more) without hurting anyone else, that’s great.

      In short, refugee immigration is great if their and other people’s rights are protected. And it is up to the relevant authorities to tell us how exactly they plan to address all the concerns.

  2. sree

    What is 4000/1.3 billion. Shame on you wasting space on a non issue. Just because one knows english and put together few words, it doesn’t make you one sensible. You are a good proof of that.

    1. Monica I.

      Hi,

      Yes, you’re right. 4,000 is not many as long as they are not suffering in poverty/exclusion, or are not gaining at the expense of others. I think I would advocate more for an end to religious persecution in different countries, so that any one country does not have to bear the responsibility of providing for the persecuted ones. All countries need to be safe for everyone.

      As for my English, trust me when I say I don’t know English that too well. 😀 It’s not my mother-tongue. There are far better English speakers & writers than me- this I can say confidently. 😀

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