Citizenship Amendment Act – what’s wrong with it?

by Yash

The act is meant to give citizenship to persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who have come to India before 2014.

The good

It is good that India is giving shelter and citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries. That’s the right thing to do.

The bad

It does so on the basis of religion of the refugees. This is not good.

Why is giving citizenship on the basis of religion not a good thing?

Because India is a secular nation. Indian laws treat everyone equally irrespective of their religion. Once we start giving preference to people of certain religion and exclude others, we going down a slippery slop and setting a very wrong precedent.

How so?

CAA is to be followed by NRC – The National Register of Citizens. Everyone in India will be asked to prove their citizenship. How do you prove you are a citizen of India? The exact process will be laid out when NRC is implemented, but if we look at how it was done in Assam then it’s a problematic process.

It took 10 years and 1200 cores to implement NRC in Assam and in the end, no one was happy with it. More Hindus were not able to prove their citizenship than Muslims.

NRC, if and when implemented will mostly affect the poor. They are the ones who don’t have proper documents. If they can’t prove they are citizens, what happens to them? Enter CAA.

Under CAA, those who can’t provide adequate documents can still be counted as citizens if their religion is as per prescribed in CAA. Whom does it leave out? Muslims.

Amit Shah has gone on record and BJP has made it amply clear time and again that CAA is to be followed by NRC.

CAA+NRC is bad for the social fabric of the country.

Even CAA on it’s own is bad. Because it makes religion a basis of citizenship. This means India is a country for people of specific religions. This does not help a country in the long run. Just look at Pakistan.

In 1947, Pakistan was created as a separate country for Muslims. India, did not choose to be a country of Hindus. It adopted a secular constitution. (Thank Nehru, Ambedkar, Patel and other visionary leaders for that). Today, India is a flawed yet fledging democracy. Pakistan is an almost failed state.

Pakistan is controlled by the army via a puppet government. It’s economy is in doldrums and it is living on alms from US, China and wealthy Arabs. The country is rife with sectarian violence and terrorism. Religion has ruined the country.

With CAA, making religion the deciding factor in granting citizenships, we have taken the first step in becoming a mirror image of Pakistan.

Not good for the future of India.

We already know what happens when the government gives more importance to religious issues than economy, jobs and growth.

We are no longer debating the falling GDP growth rate, lack of jobs, poor quality of infrastructure and education. We are debating Ram mandir, citizenship laws, triple talaq, article 370 – all issues which have religion at its core.

If you are a BJP supporter, this is something for you to ponder over, what kind of India do you want for your children? A mirror image of Pakistan or a free, secular, inclusive India which treats everyone as equals regardless of their religion, caste, creed, language and gender?

Think.