CAB:Why this brouhaha?
The country is witnessing violent protests against Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB), now Citizen Amendment Act (CAA). Here it is worthwhile mentioning that CAB aims to provide the persecuted minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan a special status in the naturalisation process and it does not mean in any way that other communities or people will not be naturalised at all, for other communities the rules of general asylum process will be followed. So, there is no violation of Article 14 here. But, in this country urban Naxals, who have been using secularism to undermine Hindus constantly for the past 70 years, are misguiding people about CAB. In fact, since CAB has religious persecution as the basis and is aiding those who are being religiously persecuted–the minorities in the specified Islamic countries–then the community that belongs to the majority religion in those countries cannot claim religious persecution. It is an important issue for the Hindu refugees, as Hindus have nowhere to go other than India. But here Hindus are getting a raw treatment in the name of secularism. That has to stop. There is so much opposition to give citizenship to persecuted people. What sort of liberal are they? There is no discrimination, because the bill seeks to give protection only to those religious minorities in the above-mentioned countries who are persecuted there. Muslims in those countries are NOT minorities. So, this bill does not apply to them at all. Those who cry foul have to learn elementary logic to understand the nuances of this legislation. Their arguments are totally hollow. Sadly, academic discussions and debates have not been able to prevent persecution of minorities in the above-mentioned countries. To aspire for an ideal world is good but to ignore the ground reality is naive. Partition of India on the religious lines is a fact and organised persecution of minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh is a reality. Assassination of Pakistani Minister Shahbaz Bhatti because he was a Christian, and assassination of Governor Salman Taseer because he opposed the blasphemy laws, and subsequent glorification of their assassins cannot be forgotten easily. If Ministers and Governors are killed for defending minorities, one cannot even begin to imagine the plight of the minorities there. We do not have resources to provide succour to all the persecuted of the whole world, but providing shelter to those who did not migrate during Partition but want to migrate now, and for the same reason as others did in 1947 that is to avoid ethnic cleansing, is within our means and is our duty.
It is evident that there should have been greater preparedness of the government in dealing with the expected protests against CAB. These unfolding protests augur ill for the country’s image. Having said this, it cannot be gainsaid that the relentless persecution of Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan has become a matter of great concern for India. Hounded by Islamic fundamentalists in cahoots with the administration, the hapless Hindus have no options but to take shelter in India. Against this backdrop, it is apt that all the Hindus coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan due to religious persecution must be given full Indian citizenship with all rights that any citizen of India has. In fact these families must be rewarded by every Hindu as despite horrible atrocities in Pakistan, they have not given up their Hindu way of life. The agony of the persecuted minorities from the three nations can be understood by the fact that they say that they would rather serve time in Indian prisons than to return to these countries. They say that they are not safe there. Women are abducted, raped and forced to convert. They can’t even perform funeral as the Muslim fundamentalists there ask them to bury the dead. Hindus constituted 23 per cent of the total population of Pakistan in 1951. But today their share is down to less than three per cent. But if their persecution continues at the same scale and they continue to flee, Pakistan is sure to become a total Hindu less country very shortly. The irony of the situation can be summed up by what Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the first governor general of Pakistan had said in his presidential address to the constituent assembly on the August 11, 1947: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.”
By Deepak Kumar Rath