The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB – now an Act) seems to have taken the country by storm. The Act hasn’t been received well by the minorities. Many believe that it is ‘undemocratic’ and aims to hamper the nation’s integrity.
People believe that the country is fast turning into a majoritarian state (much like the Sinhala-led Sri Lanka). Recently, Assaduddin Owaisi, the leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), tore a copy of the Bill in the Lok Sabha. The AIMIM chief believes that the Act will divide the country into countless fragments. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) hasn’t been well received by the minority communities because it violates the constitution.
First and foremost, the Act violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality to people (Indians and foreigners). Categorising people along religious lines violates Article 14 of the constitution. Next, the classification of people along religious lines is unjust. Classifying people based on religion is against the idea of secularism unless the government wants to turn the country into a radical Hindu state. India is a secular state, and the same has also been mentioned in the Preamble. The Preamble is the guiding light that helps interpret the constitution.
Furthermore, it also ends up violating the Assam Accord of 1985 by granting citizenship to illegal immigrants (on the basis of religion) who came here before December 31, 2014. The CAA clearly violates the Assam Accord, which says that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh (those who came after March 25, 1971) will be deported. The CAA will also nullify the impact of the National Register of Citizen (NRC) in the state of Assam, if people, who were left out of the final list, are given citizenship through it.
In recent times, the Election Commission and the Assam Border Police have labelled many as illegal immigrants (many of them happen to be Hindus). The government has proposed to drop all of the charges against the Hindus, which means only Muslims will be deemed as ‘foreigners’ by the law. Earlier, the contracts of those classified as ‘foreigners’ were terminated by the BJP. Now, we’ll have only Muslims standing before the Tribunals, which will make the exercise even more unjust and discriminatory.
The problem doesn’t end here. More than 2.5 million Lankan Tamils have been excluded from the list. Why isn’t the government paying attention? The Lankans have witnessed some of the bloodiest struggles in the history of mankind. They ought to be included in the CAA if it is a genuine attempt to grant citizenship to the Hindus.
Culturally, the Tamils in Sri Lanka have a lot in common with the Tamils in India (the language and diction might differ a bit). Most importantly, Indian Tamils will be more than happy to welcome their long-lost brothers from the island nation, then why has the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ denied citizenship to the Hindus in Sri Lanka? And why is nobody questioning this? Recently, Tamil actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan questioned the government’s intentions after the Lankan Tamils were not included in the CAB.
Tamils aren’t considered a vote bank by the Bhartiya Janata Party. They account for little in BJP’s Hindu Rashtra because a majority of them do not speak Hindi. Furthermore, Sri Lanka is not a Muslim-majority country wherein the Hindus are being suppressed. As long as Muslims don’t come into the picture, the issue does not make it to the BJP’s list of priorities.
The Act isn’t a symbol of BJP’s love for the Hindu population residing in the neighbourhood. It is a tool that has been meticulously designed to pin-point the Muslims; one that seeks to achieve what the NRC could not. It seeks to disintegrate the country by alienating the Muslims.