The Citizenship Amendment bill after getting a clear passage in the Lok Sabha on December 9 has been tabled today in the Rajya Sabha. The usual elements from the Opposition side have been debating on how the bill is ‘anti-Indian’ and ‘unconstitutional’.
However, in their haste to oppose the bill, TMC MP Derek O Brien slipped up and ended up justifying why the Citizenship Amendment Bill is necessary and the rationale behind it by citing an example of his own family.
TMC leader and member of the Rajya Sabha, Derek O’ Brien, in his speech in the Rajya Sabha today, was all out criticising the Modi government and its decision to bring in the Citizenship Amendment Bill which seeks to grant citizenship to persecuted minorities belonging to the three neighbouring Islamic countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
While he spoke on how the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be separating people from their nation, and that this bill is anti-Bengali and anti-Indian, towards the end of his speech he gave the example of his own family.
The TMC leader said that a part of his family who went to West Pakistan during the partition in 1947, have either migrated to Canada or US or had to convert to Islam. By divulging this bitter truth about his own family, Derek O’ Brien inadvertently, goes on to prove exactly why implementing the Citizenship Amendment bill becomes necessary.
He said that his family members who were left behind in Pakistan had to convert to Islam.
This is exactly what happens to the Hindu minorities living in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan which the government attempts to pull the plugs on, by introducing this bill. CAB becomes necessary so that such minority Hindu’s can be saved from this forced persecution, in the neighbouring countries, on the pretext of their religion.
The proposed legislation applies to those who were forced to seek shelter in India due to persecution on the ground of religion. It aims to protect such people from proceedings of illegal migration. The cut-off date for citizenship is December 31, 2014, which means the applicant should have entered India on or before that date.
Religious discrimination is a serious issue in modern-day Pakistan and other neighbouring Islamic countries. Attacks on religious minorities in these countries have claimed hundreds of lives. Women belonging to minority communities have been targets of forced conversions rape and forced marriages.
For example, the Bhola rape and violence incident that the Home Minister mentioned in his Lok Sabha speech. The incident dates back to the year 2001, where, under a well-articulated attack in Bhola districts, Lalmohan region, over 200 Hindu women were raped and tortured by Muslim men in Bangladesh.
In several places, like Bagerhat, Barisal, Bogra, Brahmanbaria, Chitgaon, Fani, Ghazipur, Jesor, Khulna, Munshiganj, Bhola, Narayanganj, and Sirajganj districts, Hindus were targeted in orchestrated attacks by Muslim gangs.
Similar barbarity is also very common in Pakistan. Yesterday, we reported how a 14-year-old Christian girl from Karachi was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and married off to her captor Abdul Jabbar.
After the court hearing, the victim’s distraught mother asked if the Christian women in Pakistan should kill their daughters if kidnapping and conversion are what they are destined for.
Girls from other minority groups aren’t safe in Pakistan either. In a similar incident, a young Hindu girl named Chandri Kolhi from Noukot, Mirpurkhas, was allegedly abducted, converted and married to Allah Dino recently.
Earlier, Jagjit Kaur, a Sikh girl was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam in Nankana Sahib which had caused a huge uproar. In another horrific incident, a 13-year-old Pooja Sotahar Kumari, daughter of Fatan Rathore, resident of village Bakhsho Laghari in Hyderabad district’s Hosri Taluka, was kidnapped, forcefully converted and subsequently married off to a man identified as Syed Irshad Shah.
To safeguard themselves and their devastated family members from this persecution, thousands of Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christian migrants from Pakistan have been living as refugees in border states.
Under existing laws, the process of being eligible and finally getting Indian citizenship is an exhaustive one, which not only deprives them of education, jobs and government’s welfare schemes but also keeps them from social and financial mobility. If the CAB is passed, it will bring a world of positive changes for these people who had to leave their homes over religious persecution.