First things first, CAA is an abbreviation of ‘Citizenship Amendment Act ’ (it amended the 1955 Citizenship Act) which provides Indian citizenship (without any legal proof and cut-off date to reside in India before 31 December 2014 ) to an illegal migrant who is a Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain or a Parsi religious minority who fled persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Moving on to NRC; it stands for ‘National Register of Citizenship’. As the name suggests it was made to keep a record of all legal citizens of India and to identify illegal migrants and deport them. It wants your forefathers’ land records, birth certificates, and what not. According to an analysis, a large number of Indians especially older citizens do not possess birth certificates.
*NRC is a list of people who can prove that they came to Assam before 25 March 1971, a day before Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan*
We all know that ‘NRC’ was conducted in the state of Assam from 2013-2014. It took five years of door to door survey to complete the NRC and everyone is well aware of the outcomes of the Assam NRC ( out of 33 million,19,06,657 people were not on the list in which 11 lakhs were Hindus, and it cost more than 1,200 crores).
1) On December 4 when the Citizenship Amendment Bill was introduced in the parliament, protests started in Assam, and when it received the President’s nod (11th December) a mass protest erupted in New Delhi and other cities, notably the Jamia University protest, Shaheen Bagh’s sit-in protest in which the majority were women and it was the longest sit-in protest in India till date (total 101 days) but because of Covid-19 it had to be discontinued. All these protesters who were not only the youth but also old aged people were also present in the sit-in protest and they were not in favour of CAA and NRC. All they wanted from the government was to withdraw the act; to maintain harmony and unity.
2) CAA is not only arbitrary but discriminatory too, since, giving citizenship on the basis of religion is not justified because it violates the basic nature of our constitution which is secularism and besides the many communities like the Rohingya , Ahmadiya, Shia, and Sri Lankan Tamil face discrimination and persecution in our neighbouring countries, which is why they are exempted here. Citizenship Amendment Act also violates Article 14 (which guarantees equal protection of laws, even to non-citizens) because ‘ treating equal persons unequally ’ is unconstitutional.
There were people who not only supported Shaheen Bagh’s protest but also provided a helping hand to protesters in their day to day struggle and the sit-in protest of Shaheen bagh was the ‘epitome of unity and secularism’ because people from different religious communities too participated in the protest. But, every coin has two sides. Some people think that a community living in Jamia Nagar are“ trash” and “anti-national”., I still remember those winter days when I used to board the metro from Jamia to my college, the stares and taunts I got from some people were traumatic and disgusting but I became used to it and I ignored them because to “cast pearls before a swine” is useless.
There are some questions which are unanswered like-Not everyone has certificates for verification because of various reasons like natural calamities, illiteracy etc, what will they do? Why did the naturalization time period decrease from 11 years to 5 years? Why only people from three neighbouring countries will be a part of CAA? With a population of 135.26 crores, how is NRC going to be conducted? What will illiterate citizens do?
Lastly, I want to say that in the end we are all Indians and we should always preach peace and adhere to our Constitution.