This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ankit Mishra. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

6 Religions, 3 Countries And A Date: Reading Between The Lines Of A ‘Harmless’ CAA

More from Ankit Mishra

An Act passed by the parliament which looks a harmless, benign and innocent from the outside and
is a positive, enabling legislation has raised eyebrows for people not just inside the country but also internationally. No, I am not talking about the Data Protection Bill, which gives immense powers to the government regarding data and consequently, privacy. How can I talk about that bill anyway, a bill that no one knows about? I want to talk about the other one who most people talk but know a little about. Yes, the Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by the parliament in December 2019.


Even after reading the Act, it looks like a simple Act, which talks about not considering a few religions from certain countries residing in India since a certain date as illegal immigrants and changing the time of residence before they can apply for the citizenship of the country from 11 years to 5 years minimum. But, read between the lines.

People protesting against Citizenship Bill 2019.

Now for a person who does not know law or citizenship acts or a person having some knowledge but being constantly bombarded by the misinformation and memes from all sides, this Act has created a lot of confusion. People are divided into two clear divisions: one who oppose it and are protesting and others who don’t see any reason to protest against such a harmless bill and label the protesters as pro-Pakistanis or anti-national, Urban Naxals, etc.

There is a faction who is protesting and rallying in support of this passed bill, but this faction is too much advance in their way of thinking that I don’t see myself worthy of commenting anything on them. There was a miss call campaign initiated by the government recently. For a government which acts like “Big Boss” this was expected, right?


So roughly speaking, there are six religions, three countries and a date (31st December 2014), which are key aspects of this bill. Let’s try to read between the lines and try point out the iceberg beneath the tip.

1. Religion

Six religions are mentioned in the bill, and the argument made by the opposition was that Muslims couldn’t be religiously persecuted in Islamic countries. ‘But wait, where did the term religious persecution come from?’, one might ask, as I said earlier, we need to read between the lines maybe it was written with invisible ink. Now that we see the word hypothetically written in the bill, I miss a
religion which is atheism.

Interestingly, this is one faction which is one of the most prosecuted minority in the world. Also, it is the third major religion (if we call it so) with 16 per cent of the population believing (or disbelieving). I can understand not writing about other religions such as Baha’is because that would have taken too much space in the bill, and it would not have been aesthetically appealing.

Via Twitter.

2. Countries

The Act takes three countries into account. The only thing common between them is being Muslim majority countries because religious prosecution (yes, the invisible phrase) can happen in Muslim majority countries. What about Rohingyas you will ask, well, that was an exception, and what about the Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka, well, we can have more than one exception, right?

What about the Madhesis in Nepal? Well, it is an exception amongst exceptions. Okay, let’s come out of this exception option and look at what the government has to say about the religions: “India was divided based on religion that’s why we needed such a bill.” I must say I was really moved upon hearing those words; indeed, India and Afghanistan’s partition, done on the basis of religion was so painful!

3. Date

I feel the pain our Prime Minister feels when he says these religions are being persecuted in our neighboring countries daily. We must ensure to end their suffering by giving citizenship to those who came to India before a certain date. But what about the ones who are currently facing the atrocities and religious persecution (yes, the invisible word) in the neighborhood?

The people asking this haven’t sadly studied physics, if we give citizenship to those residing in our country, it will have an induced effect through electromagnetic induction to those in the neighborhood, and they will feel safer and happier.

Interestingly, it is just like saying that animals are treated badly in the Zoo and circus, so we will treat the animals in the jungle with love and affection while doing nothing about the animals employed in the circus, and we are also saying that the animals who ran away from there after a date would not be benefitted.

CAA Without NRC: Maggi Without Masala

The CAA was incomplete, sad and felt no purpose in life, then it heard about NRC (National Register for Citizens), and it thought that finally, it had found its purpose. After creating much chaos in Assam, taking six years to complete, and yes, 1600 crore rupees to produce highly inaccurate results, NRC was ready to take on the whole country.

After teaching an English word “chronology” to the Hindi speaking belt of the country, it was assured of its triumph. But the news of its affair with CAA reached the ears of people, and it got into trouble so much that the Prime Minister had to try his best in the distortion of facts and a few lies, and the Home Minister had to take back that chronology word.


Again, understand this through the Zoo analogy, CAA gives protection and care to six species of animals in the jungle, but the jungle is already so safe and secure that’s why there was a fundamental need of some kind of trouble the species had to be saved from. So NRC is like a wildfire, where every animal that is hiding would have to come out, and the government is ready to protect the six species of animals who had been there before a certain date. So, without the fire (NRC), there is no safety mechanism (CAA) needed.

Protests And Aftermath

Not many people can read invisible lines in the bill, so they are still confused about the reason of protests, and they are thinking that they are supporting the zoo and the circus. But people are protesting in huge numbers, especially Muslims and students from various states, cultural groups, and religions.

The ruling party, already in trouble due to the increasing unemployment rate, decreasing GDP growth, an economy in a tailspin, worldwide criticism about the decisions in Kashmir, poor governance, etc., wanted something chaotic to buy time till it tries to fix the situation. And the protests generated the ideal condition for drawing attention elsewhere than the core issues. Additionally, it gives the government a chance to portray the protesters as the enemy which the state is fighting.

This government always needs to buy time to fix the problems caused by itself and is always in
search of an enemy to blame—Pakistan being the evergreen one, pseudo-seculars, urban
Naxals, tukde-tukde gang, Khan Market gang, being a few of them.

As citizens, we should not be distracted by these imaginary enemies and ask questions that really matter for the future of the country. And at least read the bill without the glasses of religion—because if tomorrow there is a fire in the jungle, it will not affect certain species but every weak and poor species (poor and deprived people) irrespective of their religion, caste or creed.

You must be to comment.

More from Ankit Mishra

Similar Posts

By AsfreeasJafri

By Roy Watson

By Avantika Tiwari

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below