Why do we need Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019
Why do we need this Bill today? After independence, if Congress had not
done partition on the basis of religion, then, today we would have not needed
this Bill. Congress did partition on the basis of religion- Home Minister Shri Amit Shah on Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 in Lok Sabha on 9th Dec, 2019
Till the advent of a decisive and focused government led by Prime Minister
Narendra Modi Indian politics
had often been suffering from the deadly disease of vote-bank. Issues of
national interest, cultural identity,
civilizational causes, humanitarian and governance concerns are decided taking
into account the considerations
It was thus not surprising but really unfortunate to see that when
the moment came to correct
the injustices done to victims of the Radcliffe line which had demarcated a
partitioned India in 1947 and
had inflicted untold miseries on a large number of people, some political parties
- especially those who have
ruled India for the longest period of time - prioritized their interests based
on vote-bank in Parliament.
was ironical to see them opposing the Bill, more so because many leaders in the
past in these parties had
sometime argued in favour of minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh, as will be
seen in this document.
Shifting goalposts these parties and their leaders have gone all out in opposing
the passing of the Citizenship
Amendment Bill 2019. The parties which have most indulged in vote-bank politics,
rule bordering states like
West Bengal, are most loudly opposed to the passage of the Bill which will
confer citizenship to large number
of beleaguered people.
Indian National Congress which is responsible for the partition of the country
and is the originator of
problems in Assam, opposed the Bill in the House thereby giving a message that
India does not really belong
to persecuted Hindus and Sikhs.
People who advocate giving unrestrained and free
entry to Rohingyas in India
opposed the Bill simply because those who benefited from this were Hindus,
Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Parsis.
For them, it appears, that these minorities in our neighbouring countries have
no human rights and especially
Hindus 8: Sikhs don’t even deserve to be recognized as persecuted and therefore
entitled to Indian citizenship.
It was really unfortunate to see the Congress opposing the Bill as a principle
opposition party tooth and nail, it
is known that the Congress, as a party has always historically betrayed the
Hindus of Pakistan/East Pakistan
and later Bangladesh. It has failed to keep its promise to protect them.
Trinamool Congress leaders, while participating in the debate Lok Sabha
profusely quoted from Rabindranath
Tagore and Swami Vivekananda, one among the TMC group, while speaking claimed to
be a Bengali Hinduand yet ironically the party decided to oppose this very Bill which intends and
which will lift out of misery lakhs
of helpless Bengali Hindu refugees. This dual standard, this political
opportunism, to cater to the infiltrator
vote-bank while dumping the Hindu refugees of West Bengal is a another historic
act of betrayal.
The TMC has also betrayed the Matuas who will be benefited finally from the
passage of this Bill. Apart
from TMC, the Left parties had also voiced, many times in the past, their
support for citizenship for this
community but they turned out to be hypocrites on the floor of the House by
opposing this Bill, which would
have provided them that citizenship.
This only shows that the Congress, communist parties and the TMC have
only used the refugees for furthering their political agenda and have never
worked to give them a dignified existence and permanent citizenship in this country.
It is pertinent to also mention that the majority of these refugees are Schedule
Castes however, and Ms.Mayawati who claim to be messiah of Harijans in India could not gather the
courage to support the Bill fearing
that this would antagonize their Muslim vote-bank.
The propaganda of the
violation of Article 14, compromise
with the secular character of the Constitution and that of the Bill being
Anti-Muslim needs to be clarified to
expose the hypocrisy and double-standards of Indian political opposition. Union
Home Minister Amit Shah,
has clarified, not once but a number of times on the floor of both the Houses of
Parliament in course of the
debate on the Bill, that this has nothing to do with Indian Muslims, that all
Muslims who are Indian citizens
need not be worried on account of the passage of this Bill, that this Bill is
not meant to take away anyone’s citizenship but is to confer citizenship.
Interestingly, if one were to look in the past, many prominent memebrs of the
Constituent Assembly like
Pt. Thakurdas Bhargava, Sardar Bhopinder Singh Man, Professor Shibbanlal Saxena
on Ilth and 12th, August,
1949 raised their voice for giving citizenship to Hindus and Sikhs across the
globe considering India as their
only homeland though the idea was vetoed by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.
But today in the case of Pakistan’s failure to ensure the rights of its
minorities, they become the responsibility
of the Indian state and cannot be left to die or be faced with forced
conversion. This was an unfinished agenda
of the partition. Even the NDA-I government, under late Shri Atal Bihari
Vajpayee, had tried on similar lines by
conferring special rights to District Collectors in Rajasthan and Gujarat to
decide the applications of citizenship
for Hindus and Sikhs refugees. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic
commitment and promise made in
2014 and again in 2019, to pass the Bill and grant citizenship has now been fulfilled.
On the objection that the Bill discriminates against Muslims, it must be
understood that it offers a future
and a protected existence for minorities who in the three countries mentioned
are facing religious persecution.
Since these three countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh are declared
Islamic republics - and since
Muslims are neither oppressed nor minorities in them they are not eligible for
This classification in the Bill qualifies the test of ‘Reasonable Classification’
for giving preferential treatment
as has been laid down for Article 14 and is in consonance with the law of the
land. There is no religious
discrimination in the Bill, it ascertains the interests of the minorities and as
per the commitment given to
them during partition focuses on fulfilling that commitrnent.The opposition
parties stand exposed, they have fumbled on their commitment to these refugees,
they are blinded by vote-bank politics.
Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee resigned from the Nehru Cabinet in opposition of
Nehru-Liaqat Pact inked
on 8th April, 1950.
He foresaw that the ‘Delhi Agreement’ would fail. It was
unfortunate that in order to
pander to a pseudo-secular conscience millions of refugees, who were the victims
of religious persecution were
sacrificed. Dr. Mookerjee’s words still ring true in the context of this debate,
Let us not forget that the Hindus
of East Bengal are entitled to the protection of India, not on humanitarian
considerations alone, but by virtue of
their sufferings and sacrifices, made cheerfully for generations, not for
advancing their own parochial interest,
but for laying the foundations of India’s political freedom and intellectual
progress. It is the united voice of the
leaders that are dead and of the youth that smilingly walked upto the gallows
for India’s cause that calls for
justice and fairplay at the hands of Free India of today. . .
That justice and
fair-play has now been finally worked
out with the passage of the historic Citizenship Amendment Bill under the
leadership of Prime Minister Shri
Narendra Modi and deftly argued and piloted by Home Minister Shri Amit Shah. A
historic wrong has been rectified, a historic commitment fulfilled.
This monograph attempts to look at the historic context of the Citizenship
Amendment Bill, its various
dimensions, debates it had generated, the present and gives a general overview
of the entire debate.
Written By: Dr. Anirban Ganguly, Director
Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation
Law Article in India
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