Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

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George Nedumparambil

This refers to the article of Mr. T J S GEORGE and the interview of Mr. Chandra Kumar Bose in CCV.

Please correct me if I am wrong in my understanding of CAA as given below:-

  1. The Act relates only to persons who illegally migrated from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  The cut-off date for this entry into India is on or before 31st December 2014.

  2. The Act regularizes the illegal status of Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Hindus and Christians.

  3. Specifically, by naming the community, the Act excludes Muslims who entered India from these countries. 

  4. The premises used by government is that all the above-named communities, except Muslims, constitute minorities in the countries listed above.

  5. The Act gives the benefit of doubt to these minorities and takes for granted that they came to India to escape religious persecution and are bound to face it again if they returned. 

  6. The Act excludes Muslims as they constitute majority and hence the Government's presumption is that being a majority, they do not face any persecution on account of their religious beliefs. 

  7. India already has in place a Citizenship rules and regulations that is open to all people across religious divide and to all citizens of other countries to apply for Indian citizenship.  To that extent, the present Act does not seek to amend or restrict Muslims from seeking citizenship in India, including Muslims who came illegally to in India from the three countries, if they can demonstrate that they face persecution in their country, like for example one may be freethinker or rationalists questioning the validity of Holy Quran or one might have written or spoken derogatively of the Prophet. Bangladesh writer Taslima Naseen is a case in point.

In the backdrop of above, I am utterly at a loss to see any logic in the current agitation by the country’s intelligentsia and political parties and patriarchs to go head on against the present dispensation in Delhi. 

I do not see how the present Act marginalizes Indian Muslims or seeks to take away their rights or citizenship.  Unless I am missing something, what is happening on the streets and in print and social media looks like exploitation of a God-given opening for all those who hate Modi and his government to do every trick possible to unseat him – a la Vimochana Samaram of the 1950s in Kerala resulting in the removal of Communist government.

It is rather amusing indeed to see Christians of all hue and cry (there are so many churches in India and each has Jesus as brand ambassador just like same Amitabh Bachhan acting as brand ambassador for many products) raise an alarm on CAA.  Amitabh at least makes sure that he does not accept to be ambassador for same products sold by a rival producer. Coming to Christian Churches, it is in a total confusion. Which one is the right one as every one of them has Jesus as brand ambassador? So I should imagine that Catholic Church, that has joined in with the protesters first sort out differences among various warring versions of Christianity rather than getting themselves involved in mainstream politics. 

Do the Christians, who have joined in the protest, really mean to say that no one from these three countries, including Christians, should be allowed in or are they saying everyone should be allowed in?  Their opposition seems to suggest that they want everyone including Muslims. If that is the case, protesters including the Church, must be asking for an open door policy which permits anyone from these three countries to come, settle and go as he/she pleases.  Is this they want? Such a system exists among  EU countries whereby citizens of member country may come and go as they please.   

The protesters, apart from saying it is discriminatory against Muslims, do not categorically say what alternative they prefer to be given that any sovereign country worth its name cannot and must not have undocumented persons residing  in its territory. 

I have lived in Dubai and Bahrain.  Both have an ID card system that citizens as well as expatriates are required to carry all the time with them.  If anyone is caught without it, the person is given an opportunity to produce it (like in situations like leaving it in the car or at home) and if there is no ID, the person is promptly sent to jail until completion of formalities for deportation to the country of origin are completed.  Those having no passports languish in jail until the origin is found and are deported promptly. 

Is it a big crime to have holding cells? We have seen it in USA where mothers getting separated from small children.   Modi should have been bold enough to admit it but should have also added the numbers are too large the government can’t possibly have cells for all them by diverting funds from building homes for the poor citizens.  Jesus has said 2000 years ago to his disciples “My Father’s house has many rooms: if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” 2000 years and not yet finished preparing? Modi should have simply stated something similar where the speaker knows that he will never be able to accomplish what he says, at least in his life time or in another 100 generations to come. 

This agitation is nothing but politically motivated with churches and NGOs who have an axe to grind joining to provide chorus to the politicians for whom it is a do or die situation.  One more term for Modi would mean disaster or even oblivion for them. Some ray of hope is seen in the horizon as in today’s newspaper it is reported some Congress MLAs have resigned from the party in support of CAA.

George Nedumparambil,

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