Illegitimate protests on CAB?
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government got passed Citizenship Amendment Bill from both houses of Parliament. The legislation says that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st of December, 2014, due to religious persecution shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act. Most importantly, this will not be applicable for Muslims from these countries. Owing to this, violent protests like stone pelting, destroying railway properties and vandalism in various states have erupted. In this perspective, it cannot be gainsaid that some so-called secular political parties are trying to use it as a tool to grab Muslim votes by misguiding Muslims. Everyone in the world knows that Afghanistan, Pakistan and also Bangladesh are most vulnerable countries for religious minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians. And, if the world is not concerned about the human rights of Hindus and other religious minorities in these Islamic nations, then India will have to take some steps regarding this. When Hindus and Sikhs are persecuted anywhere in the world, most of the human rights organisations become a mute spectator. Recently, when a Sikh leader was killed in Afghanistan, we didn’t see the kind of outrage, as we saw in Asia Bibi blasphemy case in Pakistan. It is only because Asia Bibi was Christian, not a Hindu or a Sikh. Statistic shows that in the wake of Bangladesh liberation war, according to some estimates, more than 10 million Bangladeshi refugees, many of them Hindus, escaped in 1971 and took shelter in India. Not only this, World Bank and UNHCR reports suggest that currently India has more than 200,000 Afghan refugees and many of them are Hindus and Sikhs.
Zulfiqur Shah, an activist of Sindh, Pakistan, had told Uday India (https://udayindia.in/2018/12/07/kartarpur-and-religious-minorities-in-pakistan/) that Pakistan’s ISI ask religious extremist groups to either rape Hindu women or forcibly convert them to Islam or abduct and kill the Hindus. Civil government of Pakistan is not even in a position to do something for Hindu and Sikh minorities because they need some authority from the ISI and Pakistan Army. So, they are unable to protect the Hindus living in Pakistan.
“There are three aspects behind the ruthless victimisation of Hindu and Sikh minorities in Pakistan–the first one is Taliban, the extremists’ version of Islam and some Madrasas. The second one is civil government and the third one is security institutions. Primarily, there is no Islamic notion among the fraternity of the religious extremists in Pakistan. They have combined the Islamic tradition with the tribalism in Pashtun areas of Pakistan for three-four decades. In Pakistan earlier, there was an area called FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Areas), which is now part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as they are also Pashtun. What happened when the US and Pakistan aligned against the Soviet Union, they developed Mujahideen through infusing so-called un-Islamic doctrine in the name of Islam among the tribals. And the tribals fought against the Soviet Union, and later on, Pakistani authorities developed their own brand of Taliban among the tribal community. Now the whole caricature has become extremism in Pakistan. And this tribal tradition is being attempted to impose in all over Pakistan. This is the reason why minorities living in Pakistan are facing problems for their existence,” Shah added on radicalisation spreading among the people of Pakistan.
The fact of the matter is that human rights in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have always been abysmal. As a country created on the basis of religion, the minorities were never given an opportunity to be equal citizens of the state. Consequently, the number of Hindus and Sikhs minorities has declined from 23 per cent in 1947 to less than 2 per cent.
Now the argument is being given that Muslim sects like Ahmadiyas, Shia, Baloch, Sindhi and others are also persecuted in Pakistan. Therefore they should also be given citizenship. But here we have to understand that Pakistan and Bangladesh came into existence on the basis of religion. They themselves decided to remain an Islamic nation. And if followers of Islam are not safe in these countries, then it is an internal matter of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The world has already seen the sectarian conflict in countries like Syria and Iraq. Crores of life are at stake in west Asia due to these sectarian conflicts. Against this backdrop, is it possible to give citizenship to crores of people? It is never! And we have already seen how the world preferred to intervene militarily in these countries instead of giving citizenship to resolve the conflict.
By Ravi Mishra