Submitted by Mousumi Roy…
For political class all of this is part of game, short of dog whistles. There is large and wide spread protest across India against the CAB and NRC. The onus to save India is on us No to CAB. This bill offers to provide citizenship to those suffering religious oppression in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The only caveat is, only non-Muslims are eligible for this scheme. Well, these are anyway Muslims nations, so why would they be oppressed in their own states, you might wonder. It is not just that Hindus alone face religious oppression.
There is no answer to the question of why Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, etc., aren’t figured. To be sure, there is no religious freedom in Bhutan. You can’t build any place of worship other than Buddhist or Hindu temples. Yet, Bhutan is not in this list.
Myanmar was part of British India and had shared cultural elements even until Independence, so it’s strange that it is left out. The Muslim minority living in Myanmar is called Rohingya. They are one of the indigenous populations of Myanmar, but they have been denied citizenship for a long time. They often become the target of military brutality. A few years earlier too there were serious attacks from the military. Thousands perished and hundreds of thousands fled the country into Bangladesh and India.
People may often point to Bangadeshi Hindus, but that was pre-war times. Since becoming a new nation, Bangladesh has been striving to build itself as a modern nation with reposing its faith in secularism and cosmopolitanism.
In recent years, a lot of bloggers in Bangladesh who write on Islamic fundamentalism, atheism, LGBT, etc., face violent prospects. Many bloggers were killed and as a result, Bangladesh saw an exodus of thousands of bloggers who went seeking asylum in European countries. Most of them were Muslims. Yet, these progressive Muslim bloggers won’t find a place in India.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, was never part of Imperial India and doesn’t share border. So, it cannot be categorised as our neighbor at all. Yet, Afghanistan has found a place in the bill, but not Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar, our true neighbours.
Aksai Chin, used to be part of British India on which China has territorial claims. India still considers it as its territory, so the dispute is still on. Like Rohingya, Uyghurs too have been subjugated community. Any protesting Uyghur is captured and placed in detention centres that resembles gulags. Hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs have been languishing in these detention centres.
Shias and Ahamedis in Pakistan are persecuted minorities. Many are murdered routinely by the Sunni fundamentalists. And our constitution does not allow discrimination in granting citizenship based on religion or caste. Many Shia places of worships and residents have been a target of several attacks.
Pakistani law doesn’t even acknowledge them as Muslims. Therefore, they can’t build mosques or worship in public. They are being refused government jobs and government entitlements. In fact, these two sects face oppression far worse than even Pakistani Hindus. Citizenship can be awarded on a case by case method. And Shias and Ahamedis who face persecution should be included in this.
In The North East States, especially in Assam, it is against the arrival of Hindus. Those who are going to suffer from this law are poor people. Hindu poor will be in North East States .Islamic poor will be tortured here. Interestingly North East has been excluded from Citizenship Amendment Bill unbelievingly by hawks like Amit Shah who always raise slogan “One rule, One India”. Likewise while Article 370 is diluted for one State ; Art 371 remains for North East, which is more or less similar as Art 370. Why ? BJP is in power in most NE states. Any adventure would make BJP lose those States.
All areas which were having land borders with new India in 1947, people who were on other side were welcome as citizen till 1951 without exception but plantation workers in Srilanka who went from India as labourer were neither accepted after 1947 by either India or Srilanka. Gross injustice was done and they remained stateless for considerable period. India accepted only 2 lac or so, Srilanka made rest as citizens but turbulent times made them run in thousands again to India at various times in last 70 years. Mainland India has failed both Indian Tamils who went to Srilanka and original Srilankan Tamils.
India has signed neither the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention nor its 1967 Protocol, which has 140 signatories, an overwhelming majority of the world’s 190-odd nations. However, India continues to host a large population of refugees.
Why only muslims are excluded and why other countries like Burma, Lanka, Nepal are not included. What is the purpose of this bill now? Is it being enacted after realizing that hindus will be impacted by the NRC. If so, why not Srilankan refugees who are predominantly hindus? Why northern hindu zealots forgot Tamil hindus? Even if all these things are done, the bill will still be flawed, once the religion of the person comes in.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.