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HomeOpinionsThe Home Minister’s decision to implement CAA-is a right-step

The Home Minister’s decision to implement CAA-is a right-step

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G Indira
G Indira
Author of the book: The India I Know and of Hinduism. Publications in -charge Pragna Bharati Organisation, Hyderabad. Academician and free-lancer

The Union Home Minister – Amit Shah ji is steadfast in implementing Citizenship (Amendment) Act. His saying that he would not budge an inch even if the entire opposition united against the NDA government on this issue, shows his no-nonsense approach. His statements: 1. CAA is for granting citizenship, not for cancelling the existing ones. 2. This is for people who had to flee Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan because of atrocities or forced conversions- (i.e. persecutions) amply makes clear what the law was meant for. For the world: this law is to protect the “minority” albeit in neighbouring country ones.

However, there have been shouting matches/marches on TV Channels and on roads. Though descent is allowed in a democracy, it has to be exhibited by peaceful means. In every country, there are places allotted and permitted to demonstrate descent. Blocking the roads, pelting stones on police, noisy slogans disturb public who are otherwise engaged in their day to day work. According to CAA, the government would like to grant Citizenship to the persecuted minorities from the three neighbouring Islamic theocratic countries up to 31st December 2014 only. That was the cut-off date. Those who migrated later come under illegal immigrants’ category, irrespective of their religion. Muslims that have migrated from those countries would not get citizenship under CAA as they don’t fall under: 1. Minority category 2. Persecuted category in those neighbouring Islamic Republics. Therefore, they could not be called “refugees”.

The opposition parties’ stand against CAA and their arguments:

The opposition parties want the ambit of the CAA law to be widened to include: 1. Muslim-Migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to be given citizenship under the new law. 2. They also would like migrants Tamils from Srilanka, Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and migrants from Nepal and also immigrants from African countries to be included in granting Citizenship. They say theirs is an argument for the poor people who came here for economic reasons. For this, the government says: there’s a Citizenship law, in place, for the country and with that Citizenship is available to everyone. Those aforesaid migrants could avail that privilege to obtain Indian citizenship. That means, it requires to fulfill the conditions as per Indian citizenship law to become Indian citizens. However, the opposition, mainly the Congress is instigating the Muslims in India (who are already citizens) that they are under threat, their citizenship could be annulled by the following NRC (to CAA), though that has not yet been discussed in the Parliament and though it has no relation to it with CAA.

All liberal democracies in the world are in a dilemma as far as migrants are concerned:

The opposition, specially the Congress and the other Left- liberal voices are shouting that CAA defies the core liberal secular values enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution of India, where there is no place based on religious discrimination. India adopted the western model of liberal democracy after attaining independence. As of now, all liberal democracies in the world are thinking twice before giving entry to migrants. People in those countries are resisting for the fear of losing their culture if they allow other traditions. Mainly, for the western countries, their fear is losing their own identity with the influx of refugees of other faith, specially, the Muslims.

The core norms and values of their country matter paramount to them (the people) as voters in those countries. Hence, the politicians in those countries are toeing the line of the voters in restricting migrants that are not akin to their culture. In this scenario, the Congress and the opposition parties, seeking the government to raise the bar in CAA to include Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afghanistani Muslim- migrants to India- is in no way tenable. Specially, when Pakistan and Bangladesh were curved out of India on religious basis, the question does not arise. In any case, the opposition’s so-called broader view has a dubious distinction of catering to their vote-bank politics.

Opening gates wider is not alien to Indian values:

Though India was not a signatory to UN Refugee Convention of 1951, it allowed refugees in droves from neighbouring countries during Pakistan and Bangladesh wars and also in other situations of crisis. Those who entered India, from time to time, remained within India, as they perceived, this, as their land of refuge. India also has an ancient civilizational history of welcoming and hosting refugees from other countries viz. Christians, Paresis (Zoroastrians) and Jews dating back to many centuries. This country, has been hospitable to the people that sought shelter in her shade. With the time, there’s a population boom in India. So, absorbing migrants of all hues has become a problem. And with scientific and technological advancement, there started terror (human) machinery across the world including India’s neighbourhood. The biggest threat right now for India is: the cross-border terrorism. So, therefore, India has every right to “pick and choose” people to give Citizenship. Therefore, the government through CAA, chose to give refugees that had faced brutal persecution in the neighbouring countries and not the others.

India has the sovereign right to make her citizenship law:

By implementing CAA, if India gives Citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Paresis, Jains and Christians (from neighbouring countries) based on religion, it is perfectly within the right of this country, though this may seem distasteful to the opposition. The country is also within its right to keep the bar low, by not including those who came here for economic reasons. To give leeway to neighbouring countries’ Muslim- migrants, is to raise the curtain, from partition, one-sidedly i.e. from Indian side. So, the resolution taken by our Home-Minister to implement CAA, in Toto, is a tough and gutsy step, in the prevailing situation, in the country. Of course, it’s a much-needed step for the country and for the refugees that have been waiting so long.

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G Indira
G Indira
Author of the book: The India I Know and of Hinduism. Publications in -charge Pragna Bharati Organisation, Hyderabad. Academician and free-lancer
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