The Past causes the present, and so the future. The recent past of our nation cannot be forgotten in the back ground of present events happening in our country. Modern men came to Indian subcontinent 55000 years ago. Evidence of domestication of animals, food crops, storing crops and permanent structures dating back to 6500 BC appeared in Mehrgarh (Now in Balochistan). Gradually came the first urban civilization of world The Indus Valley Civilization which flourished during 2500 BC to 1900 BC along the river Indus or Sindhu basin. Vedas were composed in Sanskrit during 2000 to 500 B.C. The word Bharat was described in Indian epics.The word India was derived from Hindush -Persian terminology referring to the civilization living along Sindhu or Indus river.
Later, Mughal empire widely used word Hindustan. Different languages and kingdoms developed subsequently over thousands of years. After 10th century Central Asian Turks Invasion began, continued establishing Islamic Delhi Sultanate in 1206 subsequently establishing Mughal empire. This is followed by invasion by Portugals and Brtish from 15th century. Subsequently British India was established. Afghanistan became independent in 1919. Freedom struggle intensified in India. All India Muslim League strongly advocated for a separate Muslim majority nation. Obliging the demand of Muslim league, Indian National Congress agreed for partition of India leading to formation of Pakistan. In 1971 Bangladesh was carved out of Pakistan.
India was partitioned based on faith followed by a bloody massacre. Citizens were able to choose country and were given citizenships. Nehru Liaquat pact was signed on April 8, 1950 by Prime minister of India, Nehru and Prime minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali to take care of refugees and minorities in both nations. The pact protects the refugees and guaranteed equal rights, opportunities and freedom to practice religion to the minorities in both countries . But, persecution of minorities continued in Pakistan and Bangladesh which resulted in decrease of hindus from 27 % in Pakistan in 1947 to 2.6% in 2011 and from 22% in 1951 to 9.5% in 2011 in Bangladesh.
In India minorities were treated equally. The percentage of Muslims from 8% in 1947 to 14.6% in 2011. Minorities in India held highest posts of President, Vice President and Chief Justice of India. This was not followed in Pakistan and minorities were betrayed and had injustice. This injustice should have been corrected decades back which did not happen. Now justice will be delivered to the minorities of erstwhile India persecuted. Pakistan borne Manmohan singh became Indian.CAB helps others like him. Jogendra Nath Mandal, the Dalit leader worked with Muslim league, demanding a separate nation for muslims and thought Dalits would be better in Pakistan.
Jogendra Nath Mandal was one of founding fathers of Pakistan and first law minister of Pakistan. He fled back to India years later unable to tolerate persecution of minorities and social injustice to them. The number of minorities who shifted from India to Pakistan due to religious persecution from India after 1950 is insignificant. But persecution of minorities in Pakistan continued after 1950. Recently a Hindu dental doctor was murdered and 2 days back 14 years Christian girl abducted ,converted to Islam and married to Muslim. So fleeing of persecuted minorities to India continued every day after 1950. Lakhs of such persecuted minorities came over many years and are coming every day from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Such Persecuted minorities are not having any rights to education, jobs, vote, own properties.
The people of erstwhile India, who came to India due to religious persecution believing the promises of fore fathers during partition are not Indians. They are people of Noman’s land. Where will they go? What was their mistake? Just being Indians on the other side of border during partition. Ex PM Manmohan singh, Jogendranath mandal and many were given Indian citizenship because of promise during partition to minorities in Pakistan, other minorities from erstwhile India should also get the citizenship and rights.
Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are the only theocratic Islamic countries which were part of British India and share border with India. They consider non Muslims as Infidels or kafirs and persecute minorities only for following different faith.In these countries religion Islam also can control the activities of governance.
Article 11 of Indian constitution allows parliament to regulate the right of citizenship. Many countries give citizenship on their own guidelines, including investments or exchange for money. This is not the first time India is accepting citizens from other countries. Previously India has accepted from many countries for various reasons.India was the only country to give asylum to Jews during persecution in world war II. India gave citizenship to millions of refugees, predominantly Tamilians, of geopolitical persecution from Sri Lanka. Thousands of Asians expulsed by Idi Amin from Uganda due to Indo phobia were given Indian citizenship. Bangladeshi Muslim Taslima Nasreen who was exiled for her writings was given asylum in India. Left supported groups opposed India giving asylum to Taslima and even orchestrated attacks against her. Many Pakistani Muslims like Adnan Sami were given Indian citizenship as per rules. Now also any citizen from any country including Pakistan can apply for Indian citizenship.
Article 14 provides equality among equals. Equal law shall apply to all in the same situation. Equals and unequals can not be treated equally. So how can minorities of 3 countries be treated equally with majority people of 3 countries? There are laws and facilities to protect minorities of India. This law protects the minorities of erstwhile India who were promised rights and freedom by both countries during partition.
The bill will in no way affect any citizen of India irrespective of faith. The interests of indigeneous population in North east have been taken care. Tribal areas under sixth schedule of constitution in Assam, Megahalya, Tripura & Mizoram are exempted from the bill. The bill also is not applicable in areas needing Inner Line permit system in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland & Mizoram. Unnecessary Panic is being created over misconceptions, which is absolutely unwarranted.
Citizenship Ammendment Bill provides citizenship to religiously persecuted minorities of Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jianism, Bhuddism & Zoroastrianism from 3 countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan. It is not about one faith. The bill decreases time for eligibility from 11 years to 5 years and the cut off date being December 31,2014.
Ex Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh was born in Pakistan in 1932. After partition his family migrated to present India. It was Dr. Manmohan Singh who requested the then home minister L.K. Advani in 2003 to develop a more liberal approach in granting citizenship to the persecuted minorities coming from Bangladesh. Mr. L. K. Advani also migrated to India from Pakistan after partition. In 2012, CPI (M) secretary Mr. Prakash Karat wrote to then PM Manmohan Singh urging to amend citizenship act for fast tracking the procedure to give citizenship to the persecuted minorities from Bangladesh. What do they want? Some times they want to give citizenship quickly to minorities from Bangladesh, sometimes they don’t want. They oppose giving citizenship to a persecuted Bangladeshi Muslim Taslima Nasreen. Irresrpective of who is running government, every political party should have a definitive and reasonable stand in such issues and not to create unnecessary panic and spreading misassumptions.
India has a history of more than ten thousand years. World reknowned Takshashila university and famous sites of Indus Valley Civilization like Harappa & Mohenjodaro are in Pakistan today. Even though being situated in Pakistan now, Takshashila university or Harappa stand for Indian culture and heritage. Few decades is very less time in a nation with thousands of rich history and heritage. India has a responsibility to take care of those minorities who are socially, culturally and geographically linked with us. Where will those minorities from erstwhile India persecuted for their faith go? For decades minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh were denied the justice promised. Here, lies an opportunity to give their rights back to them. Justice delayed is justice denied.
It’s better to be late than NEVER.
Dr. B. Vinusha Reddy M.D. (General Medicine)