Citizenship Amendment Bill-2019: Demand and agenda

Gautam Guha, Agami Kalarab: The present political fiasco in the country can be felt very well by the recent debates on NRC and CAB – Citizen Amendment Bill. India is neither a signatory to the 1951 REFUGEE CONVENTION nor to the PROTOCOL relating to forces in 1967. So, India is not bound from anywhere to give shelter to any refugee anywhere in the country. The CAB is in the top agenda of BJP and BJP represented the real motive of CAB in their 2019 General Election Manifesto. The BJP led Government had promised to grant citizenship to Hindus persecuted in the neighbouring country during the 2014 General Election too. Now, let us understand CAB. The Citizenship Act of 1955 gives all the power to the Parliament of India to decide and make decisions on citizenship. But, it should be mentioned that in the Constitution of India- definition of Citizen is not given or detailed rather only how citizenship can be acquired or who can be citizen of India is given. Though the Citizenship Act of 1955 faced a number of amendments from time to time – 1986, 2003, 2005.
The proposed bill, which amends the original, mandates that – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will not be illegal immigrants despite having entered without valid documents who entered into India on or before 31st December, 2014. They will not face deportation as illegal immigrants under the:Passport (Entry into India) Act of 1920 and Foreigners Act of 1946.Illegal immigrants from these 6 communities from these countries are assured a smooth sail to citizenship.The amendment of the original also shortens the period of residency from 11 years to 6 years for gaining citizenship by naturalisation. Recently, the government – Notifying amendments in the Citizenship Rules of 2009 to include a separate column notifying changes in the citizenship form for
applicants belonging to 6 communities from these three countries. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2019 raised several questions including possible violation of Article 14 of the Constitution which provides equality before law and equal protection of law to “any person” within the territory of India. The critics are strongly saying the Bill violates the basic tenets of Constitution. A petition challenging the CAB is pending before the Supreme Court and would be taken up once the Parliament passes it. A Joint Parliament Committee (JPC) which examined the CAB for 2½ years and submitted its report in January this year sought explanations and received two: (a) ‘Cabinet Note’ seeking the amendment “mentioned” it and (b) so did the 2015 and 2016 notifications of the MHA. Aware of the need to confirm Article 14, the JPC sought clarifications from the Department of Legal Affairs (DLA). The DLA said there would be no such violation and relief on the Supreme Court Judgment in the Ram Krishna Dalmia vs. Justice S. R. Tendolkar case of 1959 for the test of the “true meaning and scope of Article 14”. This judgment laid down two preconditions for equality of treatment in any classifications: (i) It must be founded on “intelligible differentia” which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from others left out of the group.
(ii) The differentia must have a “rational relation” to the object sought to be achieved.
The JPC does not seek or explain why or how non-inclusion of Muslims in the classification of beneficiaries would not be discriminatory or violate Article 14. Home Minister Amit Shah clearly said that the three said countries are Islamic States so the Muslim community will not have any issues. The minorities of those countries are tortured, harassed and the women are raped and stabbed. The JPC report also quotes B. R. Ambedkar as saying during the Constituent Assembly debates on Article 5 and 6 of the Constitution pertaining to Citizenship that “the business of laying down the law of citizenship has been left to Parliament” and if “there is any category of people that is left out by the provisions contained in the amendment we have given power to Parliament subsequently to make provisions for them.” The JPC also includes quotes from Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who said 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 interests but for laying the foundation of India’s political freedom and intellectual progress.”

The absence of a refugee policy with provision for asylum to persecuted groups has helped thev Government to adopt an approach towards immigrants.The politics of demography, national identity, cultural nationalism and more recently, citizenship has always been high on the agenda of the ruling government but we have understand that NRC and CAB-2019 both are totally different. The CAB-2019 amends the Citizenship Act 1955 which prevents the illegal immigrants to take citizenship and The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is meant to identify a bona fide citizen. By order of Supreme Court of India, NRC is being currently updated in Assam to detect Bangladeshi nationals who might have entered the state illegally after the midnight of March 24, 1971.While CAB is designed to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees persecuted in neighbouring countries, NRC does not distinguish on the basis of religion.
With the passage of CAB, the non-Muslims need not go through any process, meaning this will only deport the Muslims identified as undocumented immigrants.It is very important to isolate such groups from India as this could be a threat to national security. Infiltration of Rohingyas into India could cause “ethnic cleansing” of Hindu population. Rohinga Muslims are also constituted as a Terrorist organization.
Rohingya Solidarity Organisation, Harkat-al-Yaqin, Arkan Rohingya and Salvation Army (ARSA) to wage war and establish an Independent Islamic Nation. Very unfortunately the political parties of India are standing in favour of the Rohingyas. It is very necessary and important to identify the illegal immigrants to avoid internal security threats. The Narendra Modi Government is all set and determined to provide all infrastructures and multi-dimensional developments to the country. The fulfillment of promises like abrogation of Articles 370 & 35A, NIA (Amendment) Act, triple Talaq Act all made the opposition to live in panic as the CAB-2019 will break the vote bank minority politics and its trap in India.

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