What is Citizenship Amendment Bill meant for?

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The Citizenship Amendment Bill purports to provide permanent refuge and eventual citizenship to ‘religious minorities’ escaping persecution in the neighborhood.

Religious minorities in India’s immediate neighborhood –Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan – are all non-Muslims.

And there is a traumatic history of forced conversions, cultural annihilation, disappearance, torture, hounding, subjugation, and relegation of minorities to second-class citizenship in most of these countries.

The issue of Rohingyas in Myanmar is highly contentious and polarizing, with lots of disinformation on all sides.

Even Bangladesh is treading very cautiously when it comes to Rohingyas from Arakan.

Moreover, India has not ratified 1951 Refugee Status Convention, and is not a signatory to the 1967 Refugee Status Protocol.

Conferring citizenship is the prerogative of a sovereign government. It is not a right or an entitlement. And national laws, provisions and constitutionally mandated rights are primarily for citizens of a country.

Where then is the question of apartheid against the Muslims? And how is barring citizenship to certain group of migrants against Indian Muslims?

The concern raised by Supriya Sule, NCP MP, about the status of atheists fleeing from persecution is one area that should have been addressed. There should have been a provision in the bill for atheists, blasphemers and apostates as well.

 

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Aditya Chaturvedi