English Article

Surveillance over survival: CAB, to be redefined?

Let us analyse the three key points of this bill; citizenship, religious persecution and inclusion...

JJ Thekkethala

History again brings our attention to look at Darwin’s evolution theory in a different way or better speaking anthropological survival of the fittest. The present situation of India can be defined in such a way of survival pragmatism. Three prominent words which engulfs the attention of the public through Citizenship amendment Bill are…

1. Citizenship

2. Religious persecutions

3. Inclusion

Of late international media is engaged to cover maximum exclusives and later to mix it up in the newsrooms. Interested and non-interested participants make their lion-like performance inside the four walled sound proof rooms and then forget totally what they had just spoken.

UN made an amendment four days back recommending the revision of the bill which adopts the inclusion of all persecuted without the discrimination of caste creed and religion i.e. on the basis of Humanity or philosophically speaking Humanness. For which we need a clear understanding of the bill, the orientations to which it draws the attention of the people and the whether there are hidden agendas behind.

Of late whole nation testimonies powerful and united protest against the conditions of the bill which paves way for a political ramification. The slogans mostly pronounced during the protests calls for an undivided India on the basis of religion. Together with the Muslims, Hindus and Christians join their hands to define better the bill and to avoid political manoeuvrings behind. Recently India fails to understand the greatness of democracy which is an assurance given to each and every citizen to live peacefully. But the CAB seems to create a fear mongering among the public or better a fear of reprisal. In turn it may cause an assault on the fundamental and foundational principles of Indian democracy.

India is always praised for the harmonious mode of life between the people. It has always defended at maximum to protect her children from the wrongdoers. Even if there ae some interpretations on this bill as to protect the citizens from the illegal migrants, at the bottom we may find some enfranchising factors to leave the life of many Muslims on road. Contentious issue on the illegal migrants is to be resolved in a better practical not of exclusion but changing the measures of security.

The hypothesis of this bill seems to be whether India has to defend the life of Muslims as they do not face any religious persecution. It has to be treated in a broader sense understanding what is meant by religious persecution, who are minorities inside a religion, who are the real persecuted, why they are persecuted, who is persecuting etc. Wherever there are extremists of a religion, there we shall easily find the roots of persecutions. Jihadis, IS, Taliban etc. are purely egoistic extremists in Islam and they are supposed to be swiped off in cooperation with other nations. These extremists are present in all the religions and are a great threat even to the particular religion to which they belong.

Let us analyse the three key points of this bill; citizenship, religious persecution and inclusion

Citizenship has got a profound meaning in the secular constitution of India. Secularism doesn’t mean the negation of religions or a particular religion but it imparts an assurance of impartiality between religions. The Citizenship Amendment Bill would give many citizens of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh the opportunity to apply for Indian citizenship based on their beliefs alone. But the Bill stipulates they must be Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Parsi or Buddhist; Muslims are not listed. Being a Muslim, one is deprived of his right to be a citizen of India. If the Muslims cannot demonstrate their citizenship according to the regulations of the central government, could make it easier for them within India to be thrown in prison and even deported. In 2015, the 33 million people who live in Assam were asked to provide documents proving their Indian citizenship dating back to before the 1971 war. Many were unable to, having lived lives of dislodgment and poverty. In August, 1.9 million people, thought to be mostly Muslims, were left off the state’s final official list of citizens.

The second aspect of this bill is to protect the minorities who are being persecuted in other countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan where Muslims are majority of the population. “In Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis and Jains have been discriminated against. So, this bill will give these persecuted people citizenships,” said Amit Shah, introducing the bill. “If from these three countries, any Muslim petitions for citizenship, we will consider with an open mind but they will not get the benefit of this bill as the Muslims wouldn’t have been persecuted.” Here we can’t ignore the recent issues and persecutions faced by the Muslims in these countries. Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church and First person of the Vatican City State implores the help of nations for their special attention on the persecuted minorities without any religious discrimination.

We had already noticed the discrimination of a nation versus minorities for unrevealing the truth from the front line. Notwithstanding extensive use of the word Rohingya in the international community, the term is controversial within Burma. The Burmese government refuses to use the term, and considers them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. They have been denied citizenship and numerous other rights since a controversial law was enacted in 1982. It may happen even in India a few years later, with regard to all minority groups residing in India. By this bill, government generates a vague conception on religious persecution in the minds of people. In a special report released on 2 September 2014, it described how ISIL had “systematically targeted non-Sunni Muslim communities, killing or abducting hundreds, possibly thousands, of individuals and forcing more than tens of thousands of Shias, Sunnis, along with other minorities to flee the areas it has captured since 10 June 2014”. Even in India, history proves the persecuted Muslims and other minorities by others. So religious persecution cannot be considered as a base for proving the citizenship of people in India. But the agenda is very clear, “There are Muslim countries, there are Jew countries, everybody has their own identity. And we are a billion-plus, right? We must have one identity,” Ravi Kishan, an actor turned BJP politician, told in an interview to New York Times. If the nation has the real intention to save people from the religious persecution an action plan needs to address the different types of atrocities perpetrated in different parts of the world and improve human rights by adjusting them to international standards. Introducing mechanisms to strengthen implementation and oversight would be key. Also, placing more focus on criminal prosecutions would help deter crime and human rights violations.

Government customs the word inclusion in the bill, welcoming certain people to the country. It has got a psychological stimulus, which imparts to think in line with the frames set. The United Nations’ human rights body voiced concern over India’s new citizenship law, terming it “fundamentally discriminatory” in nature. While the goal of inclusion of persecuted groups was welcome, this should be done through a robust national asylum system that is premised on the principle of equality and non-discrimination. “The Diversity, Inclusion and the Constitution event promises to be a authoritative evening standing for the idea that our constitutional democracy is at its best when it embraces equally the voices of women and minorities, and when it makes out that we are a nation of immigrants, made strong by the diversity that immigration has produced.” Otherwise the constitution gets tainted with partial belongingness. Today whole India stays together for the protection of the silenced ones. Bloody war may be avoided, if we use our brains against the tactics and hidden long-term agendas of the certain groups.

NB: A special thanks to the International New York Times

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