Skip to main content

Gujarat citizens: Citizenship Bill refuses to provide 'equal rights' to all religious groups

Human rights day being observed by Gujarat activists on December 10
Counterview Desk
A group of 232 activists, academics, students, artists and concerned citizens*, mainly from Gujarat, have signed a statemen condemning the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), saying, not only is CAB discriminatory, worse, the Government of India has has had little or no communication with neighbouring countries on the practical aspects of its execution, especially deportation of migrants.

Text:

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (2019) has recently been approved by the Union Cabinet. Based on media reports and an erstwhile lapsed version of the bill, it appears that the proposed law will grant Indian citizenship to any Hindu, Christian, Jain, Sikh, Parsi, and Buddhist refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who arrived before December 31, 2014.
It will not apply to the tribal areas of the northeast, in Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. While the Citizenship Amendment Bill’s stated purpose is to offer refuge to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries, it only applies to a small, very specific group of minorities and countries.
It conveniently omits Ahmadis from Pakistan, Rohingyas from Myanmar, and Tamils from Sri Lanka, proving that the bill is not about protecting refugees, but instead is intended simply to advance the agenda of Hindutva. In turn, the law will inflame passions, and sharpen communal divisions all over the country, particularly in Bengal, Assam, and other states of the North East.
The Home Minister, Amit Shah, has stated in clear terms the intention of the government to “kick out […] every intruder except Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs." The exclusion of Muslims from his speech, and from this Bill is aimed is to further divide the country along communal lines, and target a vulnerable minority community.
The final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam categorised over 19 lakh people as “illegal immigrants,” the majority of whom have lived in Assam for decades. Sources suggest that more than 14 lakh people on the list are Hindu whereas5 lakh are Muslim. As soon as these figures came in, BJP leaders demanded that the NRC be conducted once more, as there were Hindus than Muslims on the list.
They then tried to divide people throughout Bengal and the North East by promising citizenship to only the Hindus on the list. Not only is this amendment discriminatory, it is also poorly planned. In Assam, which has a population of 3.5 crores, the government of India has spent 1,600 crore rupees in order to implement the NRC. We must consider the financial cost of implementing such a system throughout the country.
The Union Government plans to replicate the NRC in all Indian states to drive out the so-called infiltrators and foreign migrants. If the proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act take effect, it would mean that these undocumented migrants will be granted Indian citizenship as long as they are not Muslims.
Additionally, there has been little to no communication with neighbouring countries on the practical aspects of execution, especially deportation of migrants. When the Indian Prime Minister met Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the UN General Assembly, he assured her that the NRC process happening in India would not affect Bangladesh.
Within India, the government has stated that illegal immigrants will be kicked out of the country. The Constitution of India is founded on the values of secular democracy providing equality of rights across religious groups. The proposed amendments to the citizenship law are an affront to the Constitution. On the face of it, these amendments violate Article 14, which guarantees equality under the law, and Article 15, which prohibits the state to discriminate on religious lines.
Narendra Modi assured  Sheikh Hasina at UN General Assem that the NRC process happening in India would not affect Bangladesh
Both of these articles are part of the Basic Structure of Indian Constitution which cannot be amended under any circumstances by the Parliament, as declared by the Supreme Court of India in the Keshavnanda Bharati (1973) judgement. If this law comes into effect, it will overturn one of India’s most important values, and determine citizenship on the basis of religion.
This would damage the very fabric of this country, and opposing this law is imperative for all Indians. Not only will this law contradict the founding values of the Indian republic, but it will also change the character of this nation forever. By converting India into a homeland of Hindus, it mimics a dangerous idea of ethnic citizenship which has always provoked disharmony and violence across the world, including in the neighbouring country of Pakistan.
It is the responsibility of every Indian citizen who values equality and justice to oppose this reprehensible proposal to change the character of Indian citizenship. In support of various protests taking place across India and outside, we, the concerned residents of Gujarat unequivocally opposed and condemn this proposed law.
---
*Click here for signatories

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.