The two papers reviewed here are “Secularism and the Citizenship Amendment Act” (P1) and “Global Implications of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act 2019” (P2), written by Abhinav Chandrachud and Narendra Nagarwal respectively. This is an analysis of major critical points raised by these two authors.
Note: Words interchanged – “India” with “Bharat” and “Indian (s)” with “Bhartiya (s)”.
P1 argues, the CAA is against the secular ethos of the constitution, while P2 speaks on its impact on international relations and global trade/investment, economy and peace. To an extent, both the papers see an ideological (Hindutva, Majoritarianism, Nationalist, Religious Jingoist, Far-Right etc.) motive behind the CAA. The authors raise the issue of considering only those people who follow Sanatan Dharma, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism & Christianity and have come from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The authors also use the cases of abolition of Triple Talaq (one of the psychological torments hanging on the heads of married Muslim), Article 370 (giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir) and the case of Sabrimala (a religious tradition where menstruating women do not enter the inner sanctum as a respect to Malikapurathamma) as examples to show Narendra Modi’s (NaMo) pro-Sanatan and majoritarian inclination. P2 further goes on to compare CAA with Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws. Both these papers present a criticism to the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019, which is now the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Further, we will now see the elaborated arguments made by these papers.
Arguments of P1:
It focuses on how post-Independence during 1948, the Nehru administration prioritised accepting the followers of Sanatan Dharma & Sikhism as refugees from West and East Pakistan, over Muslims coming to or wanting to come to Bharat, by introducing an entry permit system in 1948. The Nehru administration by then had already started allotting the houses of Muslims who chose to move out of Bharat during partition, to the followers of Sanatan Dharma & Sikhism coming from West and East Pakistan. On the matter of National Register of Citizens (NRC), the paper stresses on the issue of the burden of proof lying on the people and not on the government, making NRC process flawed and anti-Muslim as the provision of “citizenship by birth” was taken away by the government in 2004, thus leaving Indian Muslims in a position of losing their status as Bhartiyas. The paper says, although the citizenship rules during post-Independence exodus did not mention any religion, there existed a hidden disadvantage for Muslims in obtaining the permanent resettling permit. The author also raises the point of granting citizenship to undocumented travellers, but to Muslims, and thus calls it unconstitutional.
Arguments of P2:
It speaks on Bharat’s degrading global position highlighted by the global media outlets along with organisations like the UN & EU amongst other countries raising their concerns over CAA and the crackdown on Shaheen Bagh protests. This paper also nullifies the 02 arguments given by the government;
“Ensuring justice to the victims of religious persecution as these non-Muslims have no other place to go to except for Bharat” and “the legislation seeks to remedy the errors of partition”.
This paper also highlights a very important major national security threat — the high probability of spies coming into the country under the pretense of being persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and raises the question; “what then would be the legal imperative, much less the rationale, to elevate the status of a refugee to a citizen merely because he is non-Muslim while denying the same right to a Muslim?” The author also says that Muslims have been frequently suffering countless conflicts and also implies towards a nonsecular & an intolerant Bharatiya society where there is no place for dissent. The author highlights the high diplomatic suffrage, and trade wars with Malaysia & Turkey further adding to the economic setbacks caused by CAA-NRC protests. According to the author, the growing state-sponsored communal divide increases the possibilities of confrontation with Pakistan and China and he then says that the responsibility of South Asian peace, lies on Bharat.
The authors have either fallen prey to the politically motivated false anti-BJP & anti-RSS wave or are themselves fueling this false narrative.
The major communal arguments fall flat when they claim CAA-NRC to be the government’s Hindutva motive. There exists a very old “fashionised-propaganda” of creating an anti-Sanatan narrative by NOT differentiating between Hindutva, Hinduism, Hindu and Sanatan Dharma. This has created a sense of divide amongst Bharatiyas. For example, the concept of Hindu-Rashtra is intentionally misrepresented by the opposition to secure their minority votes, whereas in reality this concept has nothing to do with any religion.
Hindutva; the way of life — culture, manners, etiquette etc.
Hinduism; the act of practicing of those ways and values.
Hindu; the person practicing those ways and values.
Sanatan Dharma; the religion.
The argument of leaving out other religions and countries is defective. This is a situation-specific law that includes countries that have defined “religious minorities”. In fact, when 03,00,000 Sri Lankan refugees were given citizenship during Lal Bahadur Shastri’s regime, no other country was included even then. Offering citizenship has been situation-specific.
There has to be a clear separation between illegal undocumented travelers and people taking refuge. This act includes only documented refugees who were present in Bharat until 31st December 2014. If a person, does not hold proper documents to prove his refugee status, she/he does not come under the scope of CAA, and will be treated as an undocumented migrant — religion neutral.
When it comes to Triple Talaq, the within-constitution abolition of a personal law that made Muslim women live under constant fear of divorce, torture & mental pressure cannot be anti-Muslim in any way.
Similarly, the within-constitution abrogation of Article 370 that gave a separate constitution, a separate flag and autonomy over internal administration to J&K, again cannot be seen as anti-Muslim because currently they constitute the majority population in the U/T.
To showcase government’s alleged majoritarianism, comparing BJP’s stand on Sabrimala with Triple Talaq, is absolutely silly. There is simply no relation between a temple entry and forced divorces in Islam. It is like comparing red and green apples. Just because they are apples, it does not mean they are the same.
Under NRC the burden of proof lies on the people and not on the government, but as assured by the Union Home Minister, NRC is going to be a very convenient task for citizens. The burden of proof will not be a burden in its literal sense. There will be a variety of accepted documents that one can easily present. Instigating fear by saying “You will lose your citizenship” is just as false as “NaMo government will shut down MG-NREGA operations” or “Modi vaccine will make Muslims impotent”.
The next point is on the issue of Bharat’s IR. Has Bharat’s position in the international arena really degraded? Global media that is highly dominated by left-liberals has always been a blind critic of this government since day and one has been conveniently publishing “narrativised-news”. Apart from the ill-informed-hastily raised concerns by various countries and international organisations, Bharat did not face any foreign relations backlash that would damage our national interest. Even if the country had faced any challenges to its national interests, the policy of Vaccine Maitri was a game changer.
While trying to show that attaining Bharat’s citizenship is taking a communal turn, the authors forget that the same rights to Muslims are nowhere denied. In fact, 600 Muslims from the same 03 countries have been given citizenship under the NaMo government. Another famous, yet, less spoken off example is of Pakistan born Muslim singer Adnan Sami becoming an Indian citizen.
The “anti-CAA/NRC protests-riots” in return for “money and biryani” famously called as ‘Shaheen Bagh protests’ were not restricted to anti-CAA arguments, but were given a communal angle to attack the Sanatan community. This was confirmed by Tahir Hussain, a former AAP leader arrested for the same. He even confessed to being the mastermind of the riots and also confessed to the plan of “Islamising” the protests to showcase the Sanatan society as anti-minority and intolerant.
The authors try to find an anti-Muslim angle in everything and try to project them as the innocent peace loving victims. But they seem to forget that Bharat is the only country where one can do and/or say almost everything and anything against the majority religion and get away with it. A huge unforgettable example is the case of Pakistani Muslim terrorist Ajmal Kasab who was captured during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. There was a plot under the then government to project him as a part of the Sanatan community (had he not been caught alive) in order to spread the false narrative of Bhagwa Aatankwad (Saffron Terror).
This is probably the most liberal government Bharat has ever had. Apart from a few instances of legitimate crackdowns (unless the court rules otherwise), there is no base to accuse this regime of being anti-dissent or anti-minority. On the contrary, there are news handles, web pages, social media handles dedicated to freely criticising/abusing the Sanatan society, the government and the Prime Minister on a daily basis. Freedom of expression has been highly misused in Bharat. The opposition and the critics knowingly cross the line between criticising the PM and criticising the country. Criticism has to be constructive and must not deconstruct the idea of Bharat Rashtra.
Jai Hind! Jai Bharat!