The detractors of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including the western media, have been proclaiming from the rooftop that India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is outright unconstitutional. Over 140 pleas were filed in the Supreme Court of India seeking a hold on implementation of the CAA. But a panel of three Supreme Court judges including the Chief Justice and a Muslim judge refused to accept the pleas in January, 2020. Supreme Court’s refusal proves two things – CAA may not be unconstitutional after all and the unabated attack on Modi is biased and unjust.
Western media’s news reporters and opinion writers have been spreading a rumor that the Indian Muslims would lose their Indian citizenship under CAA. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nowhere does CAA say that the Indian Muslims will lose their Indian citizenship. This is nothing but fear-mongering and disinformation launched against Modi government. Western media seems to be doing the bidding of Indian National Congress (INC), the opposition party of Sonia Gandhi.
Contrary to fear-mongering, what CAA does is – provide Indian citizenship to minorities under religious persecution in neighboring Islamic countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. CAA excludes the Muslims though from those three countries simply because they are not under religious persecution in their own Islamic countries. They can always seek immigration to India like anyone else from any other country under Indian immigration laws. It is reported that nearly 4,000 people from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, hundreds of them Muslims, have been given Indian citizenship in the past six years.
What is wrong in providing special protection to minorities under persecution? Portraying this act of generosity of India as discriminatory against Muslims is simply wrong. If CAA is discriminatory against Muslims, Civil Rights Act is discriminatory against whites in USA and making reservation in government jobs for lower castes is discriminatory against upper castes in India. It is as simple as that.
If CAA is discriminatory to Muslims, USA’s Lautenberg Amendment of 1990 is discriminatory to Muslims too because it excludes Muslim refugees from Iran to be resettled in USA. It allows only Jews, Christians, and Bahais to be resettled in USA.
The mob psychology created by the western media against Modi is not going to work because he has a mandate from the electorate to implement his party’s election manifesto on a crucial issue of citizenship. What’s more, Modi was re-elected with an overwhelming majority in the last election just a year ago and is highly regarded for his competency, honesty, and selfless service. His unprecedented high approval rating of 93.4% in May 2020 is the testimony of his popularity in India.
The population of religious minorities fleeing from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and now living in India for decades as stateless refugees is huge. INC who ruled India for 54 years left the refugees at their own plight doing nothing for them. It is Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who pledged to provide Indian citizenship to refugees under persecution in its election manifesto of 2014 and 2019. Making CAA a law of the land is simply fulfilling BJP’s election manifesto.
What the real grudge of INC in CAA is – excluding the illegal Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants from the Indian citizenship. Although INC ruled India for 54 years it closed its eyes from the fact that the Bangladeshi Muslims were illegal immigrants because it considered them as allies and potential vote-bank. This is the root cause why illegal immigrants are now clamoring for legitimacy of their unlawful infiltration into India.
Knowing fully well the horror of frequent terrorist attacks from Pakistan and economic destruction by infiltration of Bangladeshis, practicing secularism in issuing Indian citizenship is foolhardy and could be a security and economic nightmare for India.
India is nearly one-third of USA in land area and roughly four times larger in population. At a population density of 460 persons per square kilometer India cannot afford accommodate additional immigrants. USA’s density is only 36 persons per square kilometer. Instead of piling on Prime Minister Modi why doesn’t the American media press its own government to be little more benevolent and let the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants from India settle in USA?
It is Muslims who divided India into two countries in 1947. They wanted to live in a separate country of their own and they got one in Pakistan. They should live there happily thereafter. If the Muslims divided India based on their religion why can’t the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis be denied Indian citizenship based on their religion? Muslims who opted to stay back in India despite the lure of Pakistan, a new Islamic country of their own, are true Indians and will never be deprived of their Indian citizenship.
Author: Harnarayan Shukla
Short biography: Retired engineer, immigrant from India with American citizenship, follows Indian news and current affairs, writes poems in Hindi
(1) In long run, outsourcing is good here and abroad, Star Tribune, Minneapolis, January 24, 2004
(2) Neocon logic makes India the next target for U.S. war (a satire), St Paul Pioneer Press, January 27, 2005
(3) Where does Gujarat Stand in Foundry Industry, The Times of India, June 30, 1978
Letter to editor
(1) U. S Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s Profanity: How to set a bad example, Star Tribune, Minneapolis, January 8, 2019
(2) India Election: In Minnesota, we are thrilled to have Modi, Star Tribune, May 29, 2014