As the Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha last night, left-liberal media and opposition parties have gone on an overdrive in spreading propaganda against. Most oppositions against the CAB are based on lies, or poor understanding of the proposed amendment to the citizenship law. Here are some of the baseless complaints made about the CAB and the respective facts.
Citizenship Amendment Bill is against Indian Muslims, they need to get their papers ready to continue living in the country.
One of the worst lies being spread is that Indian Muslims need to worry about the bill. The Citizenship Amendment Bill has nothing to do with Indian citizens, Muslim or otherwise, as it seeks to grant citizenship to religious minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. People belonging to Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsi or Christian communities from these three countries who have come to India before 2014 for religious persecution and already living in India will be able to apply for citizenship after the amendment is passed. No Indian citizen will be asked to produce any document to prove citizenship after the CAB is passed, it is just false propaganda being spread by some people.
Muslims from other countries can’t become Indian citizens after CAB is passed
CAB is a special one-time measure for the religious minorities who have already come to India after facing persecution in the three specified countries. The amendment does not cancel the existing naturalisation laws. Any person from any foreign country seeking to be Indian citizen can apply for the same under the existing laws. There is no bar on Muslims from anywhere in the world to seek Indian citizenship under existing laws, CAB does not prohibit that. They can apply for Indian citizenship under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, which deals with citizenship by naturalization.
Muslims for Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan can’t apply for citizenship or refuge in India
Although Muslims from these countries have been excluded from the CAB, it does not mean the door is shut forever for becoming Indian citizens. The points made in the above para applies here also, although they are not given blanket relaxation to apply for citizenship under CAB, the usual naturalisation law remains available to them.
Illegal Muslim immigrants living in India will be deported after CAB is passed
CAB gives citizenship to people of six communities from three countries living in India, but it does not deal with the deportation of illegal immigrants. Although it protects Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis or Christians who had entered India illegally from deportation by giving an opportunity to apply for citizenship, it does not say anything about deportation as that is the subject matter of another law, the Foreigners Act, not the Citizenship Act which the bill seeks to amend. The process of deporting anyone entering and living illegally in India is an ongoing process, and the CAB does not change that.
Any Hindu can become Indian citizen after CAB is passed
Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis or Christians from only from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who are already living in India for at least five years can apply for citizenship. It does not give automatic citizenship to Hindus, they must have lived in India for at least five years, and after that, they have to apply for citizenship. It is not particularly biased in favour of Hindus as many are arguing. Six communities from three countries have been given relaxation, for everyone else the normal naturalisation law remains applicable. For example, there are lots of Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus living in camps in Tamil Nadu, but they have not been included in CAB. These Sri Lankans had fled the country during the war with LTTE in 1990s and are living in several camps.
If CAB is about religious persecution, why Shias, Ahmediyyas, Balochs and Rohingyas are not included
All these groups are Muslims, they are not recognised as separate religions anywhere in the world. As Muslims, they are not minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, which are either officially Islamic countries or have a very high Muslim majority. Therefore, it is not possible to include Muslims in the bill as it is specifically made for religious minorities in those countries. Still, if any Muslims are being persecuted in these Islamic countries for practising their version of Islam, they can apply for asylum in India. India has already provided asylum to Tibetans, and a large number of people from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda etc.
Moreover, Balochs and Rohingyas are not religious groups, they are ethnic groups. Baloch people are not wanting to migrate to India or any other country, they are demanding an independent nation in the Baloch region. Therefore, it does not make sense to include in CAB. In the case of Rohingyas, although they fled Myanmar after they were allegedly targeted by the military, their situation was not the same what minorities are facing in the three Islamic countries. Rohingyas were targeted in retaliation after they had attacked people from other communities, including Hindus, in Myanmar. Rohingya groups are conducting terror activities in Myanmar for a long time. Many such terrorists entered other countries along with ordinary Rohingyas, and they remain undetected. Therefore, the Rohingya groups remain a security threat to India, and they can’t be given any blanket relaxation for citizenship.
CAB is against the Indian Constitution as the constitution prohibits discrimination in the name of religion
The constitution of India is for citizens of India, and the CAB is a special provision for people who are not citizens of India. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that CAB violates the constitution. Moreover, our constitution and laws already have several discriminatory provisions. We don not have equal law for every citizen, the constitution allows different laws for different religions in several matters. We have Hindu Temples under government control but not Mosques or Churches. We have different laws for schools run by Hindus and non-Hindus. Haj subsidies and salaries for Imams but no such facility for Hindus, the list goes on. As the constitution already allows discrimination among even the citizens, it can’t be said that excluding Muslim citizens from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan violates the Constitution of India.
People in North East are opposing CAB because it is discriminatory
Although it is true that some people in north-eastern states, particularly in Assam, are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, their reason is completely different from the left-liberals and opposition parties. People in north-east are against giving citizenship to illegal immigrants from Bangladesh or anywhere, regardless of religion, and that’s why they are opposing it. People in the northeast don’t want any foreigners to be given citizenship, while outside northeast the opposition to the bill is over the exclusion of Muslims. Both the groups are actually on completely opposite stands in their opposition to the bill.