Skip to main content

Hindutva agenda alleged to be behind Govt of India Bill seeking to provide citizenship to "illegal" migrants

By Our Representative
Is Government of India's Hindutva thrust behind its alleged refusal to provide asylum to 36,000 Rohingiyas, forced to flee Myanmar in the wake of the 2015 insurgency, and currently living in different parts of India – and the reason is, all of them are Muslims?
It would seem so if the new Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is any indication. While Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, says that the Central government is “concerned” about the Rohingiyas “at a humanitarian level”, the Bill, say well-informed sources, seeks to do “just the opposite.”
It is seeking to amend the definition of “illegal immigrants” by excluding under its ambit “minority-religious individuals” such as Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from “Muslim-dominated countries” – specifically Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
A recent commentary says, “If the motive of the government is to protect religiously persecuted people in the neighbourhood, the question of why they are ignoring the Muslim community is inevitable.”
Forced to migrated to several other countries in much larger numbers following the 2013 riots in Central Myanmar (Burma) they risked their lives, sailing in small boats, to reach Bangladesh, several South-east Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The change in the Bil has been made, it is suggested, in the garb of relaxing the requirements for Indian citizenship to “illegal immigrants”. The problem, it is suggested, is not with the flexibility of the rules, but the applicability of the amendments on purely religious lines.
The Citizenship Act of 1955 denied citizenship rights to any illegal immigrant. It defined an ‘illegal immigrant’ as a person who (i) enters India without a valid passport or with forged documents, or (ii) who stays in the country beyond the visa permit.
The Bill, however, reduces the requirement of 11 years to acquire “citizenship by naturalisation” to only six years of ordinary residence for such immigrants. "This means that a Hindu from Pakistan can cross the border illegally and claim Indian citizenship after six years", says an expert.
The Bill, according to this expert, is a “furtherance of the BJP’s election promise to grant citizenship to Hindus from Muslim majority countries” in its 2014 parliamentary election manifesto, in which it declared India to be a natural home for persecuted Hindus.
During an election rally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “We have a responsibility towards Hindus who are harassed and suffer in other countries. India is the only place for them. We will have to accommodate them here”.
This is not the first time that religion is being made the consideration for the conferral of citizenship. According to legal experts, a veiled reference to religion can be found in Article 6 and 7 of the constitution. Article 6 confers citizenship to people who migrated to what is now India after the announcement of partition, whereas article 7 grants citizenship to individuals who migrated to Pakistan after the announcement of partition but returned to India later on.
Those included in the second category had to go through an elaborate process of registration before they could be awarded citizenship rights. Although neutral on the surface, it is suggested, these provisions have deep religious markers attached to them.
While article 6 was directed towards Pakistani Hindus who had moved to India, article 7 implicitly referred to the Indian Muslims who had left India during the violence of partition but wanted to return to claim back their lives, livelihood and property.
Keeping a similar view, it is suggested, the Congress government at the Centre enacted the Illegal Migrant (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983, which provided for the detection and expulsion of illegal immigrants from Assam – all of them Bangladeshi Muslims. Here, “the word illegal immigrant was a thinly caped reference to the Muslims who had entered the state”, says an expert.

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”