The controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 was passed from Lok Sabha yesterday amidst a heated debate that went on till midnight. The bill will be tabled in the upper house and it remains to be seen how BJP manages the numbers there. The CAB 2019 aims to grant citizenship to the persecuted minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan & Bangladesh. The persecuted minorities of these countries include Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jains & Sikhs. As is with any transformational step that the present Govt attempts, the Bill was termed as anti Muslim, communal and against the constitutional values. AIMIM leader Owaisi who is very vocal on any issues touching life of Muslims, tore apart the bill in Lok Sabha and called the Prime Minister, Hitler. While the Govt fights it out in the upper house, let us turn the clock 70 years back to understand the events, that necessitated a change in the citizenship rules, and whether the Bill really violates the principles of the constitution.
One fact that nobody would contest is that India was indeed partitioned on religious lines, with Muslims rallying under Muslim League & its leader Mohd. Ali Jinnah. The basic premise for demanding a separate country was the fact that Muslims considered themselves as the ruling class and hence their rights could not be protected under a Hindu majority Government. This idea of racial superiority formed the bedrock of the much talked about Two Nation theory.
While a lot can be written on the partition of India one effect the event had on Congress party was the lopsided idea of secularism that it nurtured in the country. One the total population transfer was never demanded by the Congress leaders including the two most prominent figures Gandhi & the first PM J L Nehru. So even while millions of families exchanged borders, many Muslims who were at the forefront of demanding a separate nationhood chose to stay back in India. The result of not negotiating a complete population transfer can be seen in the form of AIMIM leader Assaduddin Owaisi whose grandfather formed the party out of leftover cadre of the Razakars militia. The Jihadi outfit which fought for inclusion of the then Hyderabad state into Pakistan and massacred thousands of Hindus in riots of 1948. Secondly, the divisions within the Hindu society were deepened to be used as an equaliser to the numerically weaker Muslims of India. For if the Hindus denounced their caste differences and moved towards social unification their political weight would increase and lead to disenfranchisement of the Indian Muslims. Thus while Hindus continued to vote in various caste combinations Muslims voted en-block and this basic equation enabled Congress to remain in power for decades unrivalled.
Subsequent to a hastened partition the second blunder Indian leaders committed was to sign the Nehru-Liaquat pact in 1950. The pact assumes importance because it safeguarded the interests of the minorities in India and Pakistan. While India kept its end of the bargain, Pakistan turned full Wahabi in the next few decades and unleashed Jihad on its minority Hindu, Sikh population. Since there were no leverages in the pact to prevent Pakistan from persecuting its minorities India could hardly do anything. It is really unfortunate that the horrid stories of persecution of Sindhis, Hindus & Sikhs have rarely reached the common populace of India. No wonder our media or civil liberties groups don’t find merit in visiting the Pakistani Hindu refugees in Adarshnagar, New Delhi, or the Sindhi Hindu refugees living in Rajasthan. Recently there was news of a Pakistani Hindu girl raped and killed in Pakistan. There was a muted response from the Indian side displaying a sense of apathy towards the Hindus of the other side.
Compare this with the ferocity and seriousness the western society fought for Asia Bibi convicted of blasphemy in the same country. The entire Western world with countries like UK, Canada raised the case of Asia Bibi, prevented her execution and made way for her safe migration to Canada.
This difference is what necessitates a bill like CAB 2019. Finally, we have a Govt who cares for the persecuted non Muslim citizens of the erstwhile Indian sub continent. Those woke liberals who call the bill anti Muslim for the reason that they are excluded from the amendment should realize that Muslims already have a third of the Indian landmass under their control. Muslims chose their separate ways in 1947 and they are free to build the pure land of Islam in the area under their control. Including Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan nullifies the whole idea of partition. Even though they can still apply for citizenship under the current rules of citizenship, the way Pakistani singer Adnan Sami did. As far as persecution of Baloch, Mohajirs, Ahmadiyas is concerned, it is nothing but sectarian violence which is intra religion to Islam. If Muslims cannot reconcile relations within their various sects it becomes all the more important for us to not bring them inside. Also, given the fact that Baloch, Mohajirs, Pashtuns etc are all fighting for a separate state in Pakistan we should support their call for self determination rather than giving them asylum.
Another point of contention raised is that the bill violates the Article 14 of the Right to equality. It is another misconstrued notion. Indian democracy has allowed lot many privileges to minorities in the name of secularism. India was one country which till recently followed the barbaric practice of Triple Talaq which many Islamic nations have denounced. The freedom minority religious institutions have is not equally endowed to the Hindu religious institutions of the country. Through the Hindu Religious Endowments Act, Government of India effectively controls stake in every major temple of the country, especially the big ones in South India. Apart from controlling the funds of the temples the Indian secular Govts have the right to modify or delete any religious custom or practice it considers obsolete. The entire premise of the term ‘’essential practices” is to wield control and interfere in the religious beliefs of Hindus. However, the secular Govts do not show particular interest in modifying the essential practices of Islam or Christianity howsoever obsolete they may be. Compare the situation in India versus the plight of Hindus face in Pakistan, a state which recognized Hindu marriages only in 2017. Prior to it, there was no recognition of marriages in Hindu societies and the discrimination was often used to carry out forced conversions of Hindu girls in Pakistan.
India is the last refuge for Hindus of the World to fall back. From the time India suffered partition to the present, the population of Non Muslims has steadily decreased in both Pakistan & Bangladesh. Apart from the discrimination, Indian public is largely unaware of the genocides inflicted upon Non Muslims or rather Kafirs(Non believers) or Mushriks(Idolaters). The ‘1947 massacre of Hindus & Sikhs in Mirpur, Kotli, POK resulted into killing of over 25,000 people and mass rapes. The ethnic cleansing of Bangladesh in 1971 was even worse with as many as 3 million people getting killed. It is said more than 2 lakh women were raped as war booty during the Bangaldesh liberation war. By granting citizenship to the survivors of the worst genocides we are not giving any privilege to them. Rather it is our responsibility to protect the people who kept the lamp of faith burning in such a hostile environment. CAB 2019 is just a minor correction in a series of mistakes committed during the period we gained independence, everyone should support it wholeheartedly.