Citizenship Amendment Bill: Dial CAB for a raging controversy

Updated: 10 December, 2019 07:24 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

It is a house sharply divided as two sides of the Citizenship Amendment Bill coin cleaves opinion

A pedestrain walks past a wall graffiti opposing the CAB, in Guwahati. Pic/PTI
A pedestrain walks past a wall graffiti opposing the CAB, in Guwahati. Pic/PTI

Against the bill

Zakia Soman, co-founder, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA)

The women members of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), which is a pan-India body, say the Parliament needs to categorically reject the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). This Bill divides citizens on the grounds of religion, which is antithetical to the idea of India as envisaged by our founders and articulated through the Constitution. Victims of persecution should be given protection, support or citizenship, or all of the three. Here, instead we see further discrimination!

The CAB validates the two-nation theory under which India is divided. The birth of Bangladesh in 1971 is evidence that religion cannot be the basis of a nation and nationality. In fact, the passage of this Bill will make us resemble Pakistan where the governments and army are struggling to forge a religion-based nation even 70 years after their formation.

There are many arguments for the Bill — like it is the non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the three countries primarily from where those persecuted have come into India and have been identified by the CAB. Yet, these nations persecute minorities within Islam, too, such as Shias, Ahmadis and Hazaras. Even secular-minded Muslims are attacked in these countries.

Another trope bandied about is that this is a Bill not against minorities but against ‘infiltrators’, but all illegal immigrants should be treated similarly.
Whether we accept or reject them is our prerogative, but we cannot say some are infiltrators and others are not. The bigger picture is that we should not discriminate on the basis of religion.

People voted for Narendra Modi for development, growth and prosperity. He should focus on economy and his party should shun Hindu-Muslim politics. People are tired of it.

For the bill

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi. PIC/PTIUnion Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi. Pic/PTI

Shriraj Nair, national spokesperson, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)

First of all, we must remember that India has been formed on the basis of religion. Some nations have been formed not based on religion; they were partitioned for other reasons. India was partitioned on religious lines.

The Muslims of the sub-continent wanted a country of their own. So, they got their own country, carved out of this one. They have been presidents, top film stars, cricket captains, nobody is persecuting them or driving them out. Contrast this with the persecution of Hindus in Muslim countries. They live as second-class citizens, with no equal opportunities. Number of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh has gone down. Where are the Hindus going?

The Muslims have their own nations, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There are other Muslim nations too. There is only one nation for the Hindus, which gives them a cultural identity. That nation is Bharat. Where else do they go, if they wish to flee persecution?

People in places like Assam and elsewhere in the North East are misled by politicians like Badruddin Ajmal and his followers, who want to change the demography of the state. The Congress has always played appeasement and vote-bank politics. Parties close to the Congress philosophy, like the Trinamool Congress are parroting the same lines that this is anti-minority, but it is not so.

There is another argument that PM Narendra Modi must concentrate on jobs and the economy. I agree with that, but you cannot compromise on national security. You cannot compare, for instance, the abrogation of Article 370 of J&K and job creation.

The Shiv Sena must also remember Balasaheb Thackeray’s words that one country was carved out of this country, which was for the Muslims and now the rest is for the Hindus. I will go by these words.

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First Published: 10 December, 2019 07:11 IST

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