When the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019 was about to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha, I had some hope that at least this house would protect the fundamental structure of our constitution i.e. “Secularism”.
When the Citizenship Amendment Bill was being presented in Rajya Sabha, many parts of the North East were afflicted with mass outrage, protests broke out in many parts of India. Despite the mass disapproval, the bill was passed unscrupulously.
Among the states in the Northeast, the outrage against CAB has been the most intense in Assam. While a majority of these states have been exempted from the legislation, CAB, however, hovers over a large part of Assam. The protests stem from the fear that illegal Bengali Hindu migrants from Bangladesh could threaten the cultural and linguistic identities of the state.
The CAB has singled out Muslims by only inviting all the persecuted minorities to seek asylum in India. It seeks to legally establish Muslims as second-class citizens of India by providing preferential treatment to other groups.
This violates the Constitution’s Article 14, the fundamental right to equality to all persons. This basic structure of the Constitution cannot be reshaped by any Parliament. And yet, the government maintains that it does not discriminate or violate the right to equality.
Centre says these minority groups have fled persecution from Muslim-majority nations. However, the logic is not consistent, the bill does not protect all religious minorities, nor does it apply to all neighbours.
The Ahmedia Muslim sect and even the Shias face discrimination in Pakistan. Rohingya Muslims and Hindus face persecution in neighbouring Burma, and Hindu and Christian Tamils in neighbouring Sri Lanka. The Modi government seems to have conveniently ignored all others.
The home minister, Amit Shah has renounced many times in the parliament that NRC has no relation with CAB, however, the process of CAB was expedited because NRC did not provide the expected votes in Assam to the BJP and out of 19 lakhs approx. 14 lakhs Hindus were not included in the list.
In a country which has approximately 287 million illiterate citizens, the documentation of the citizenship proof seems to be a moronic demand. Citizens will become refugees for lacking documents, while the government will be charitable to only non-Muslims.
The Muslims will become infiltrators. Many of the citizens have reported the loss of documented proof due to various reasons such as natural calamity, but they could be declared infiltrators despite living in the country for generations.
A Hindu, who might have lost his documents or has no document at all, will have the right to stay in India, however, a Muslim cannot afford to misplace his documents, and if he does, he risks being deported and labelled as an infiltrator.
Mohammed Faisal Haseeb is Political Science Student @ University Of Delhi. Opinions May Not Represent The Views Of The EurAsian Times