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Media, celebrities spreading falsehoods, CAA being misinterpreted: Pune law students issue statement supporting the Act

The Act has been grossly misinterpreted to those who have not read the Act in its entirety and those who do not have access to the Act

Two days after it was reported that the students, alumni and faculty of the Indian Law Society’s Law College, Pune came out against the Citizenship Amendment Act, and supported the protests against it by students of Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University, a section of the college has now voiced their opinion in support of the Act.

On Wednesday, students of several educational institutions across the countries had issued statements supporting the anti-CAA protests by Jamia and AMU students. The ILS Law College in Pune was one among them, and the statement issued by them said, “We remind the state machinery that under our constitutional framework, the right to peaceful protest is safeguarded as a fundamental right under Part III. It ought not to come as a shock to the ruling establishments in various states where the protests are on-going that a vote is not a solemn declaration of irrevocable acceptance for all times to come. A vote is not a bargain for silence without dissent. We condemn the terrorizing of institutions of learning using the disproportionate weight of state machinery to stifle legitimate dissent. It is highly unbecoming of the state machinery to unleash violence on students. We stand in solidarity with the students who have suffered this indiscriminate brutality. We request the judiciary to take cognizance of these brutal acts by the state machinery and initiate an independent inquiry.”

But now it has emerged that only a handful of students were behind this statement, and many students in the law college do not agree with protests against the CAA, and in fact, support the amendment. These students have now issued a statement in support of the CAA. They say that they strongly reiterate their support for the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and condemn the violent protests taking place across the country.

Read- Modi government dispels myths about CAA: Here are 19 FAQs and their answers

The students have said that the Act has been grossly misinterpreted to those who have not read the Act in its entirety and those who do not have access to the Act. “As educated people and law students/practitioners of India’s one of the most prestigious colleges, it is on us to educate the masses and correct the myths that are being circulated,” the statement reads. The students also allege that prominent media houses and celebrities are spreading false notions about the Act and are thus polarizing people in the name of religion.

A second-year BA LLB student of ILS Law College also an online poll on seeking the support of the statement supporting the CAA. While the statement received support from a large number of students of the college, the student organising the poll was hounded by left-leaning students on class WhatsApp Groups.

The full statement of the students of ILS Law College in Pune supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act is given below.

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT, 2019

We, the students and alumni of Indian Law Society’s Law College, Pune, in our personal capacity, strongly reiterate our support for the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and condemn the violent protests taking place across the country.

The Act has been grossly misinterpreted to those who have not read the Act in its entirety and those who do not have access to the Act. As educated people and law students/practitioners of India’s one of the most prestigious colleges, it is on us to educate the masses and correct the myths that are being circulated.

First and foremost, it is an Act that has no provision whatsoever to snatch citizenship. It can only grant citizenship. Prominent media houses and celebrities are spreading false notions and are thus polarizing people in the name of religion. Indian Muslims are rightful citizens of our country and will not be touched by this Act. Muslim brothers of the neighboring countries will still be provided Citizenship through the legal front door as has been happening in the past.

India has only one religion and that is the Constitution of India. The Constitution is not a mere lawyers document, it is a vehicle of Life, and its spirit is always the spirit of Age. This Act is not in conflict with the Constitution. Article 14 guarantees to all equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. However equal treatment should not be confused with identical treatment. There is a principle of “Reasonable Classification” under Article 14. The Test of Reasonable Classification says that the classification must be based upon “Intelligible Differentia” that distinguishes persons or things that are grouped from others that are left out of the group. Here the intelligible differentia is the persecution of religious minorities in the three bordering Islamic States. The reasonable classifications made are country wise (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh) and community wise (Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Jew, Parsi, Christian).There are several case laws thathas established these concepts, Budhan Chowdhuri vs The Union of India & Ors., 1951 AIR 41, 1950 SCR 869; Lachmandas Kewalram Ahujanand vs The State of Bombay, 1952 AIR 235, 1952 SCR 710 et al.

An Act need not redress every social wrong however it is also imperative to work on other issues. CAA is an Act that ensures religious minorities who are being persecuted in the neighboring countries are redressed. The Act is in the interest of human rights of several voiceless and powerless people and hence must be celebrated.

We condemn the unprecedented violence and bloodshed that followed. We are against the use of violence by anyone and would not take sides since a plethora of false news regarding the student protests has transpired. Of what is known, several interest groups and political parties had helped in orchestrating these nationwide protests. It has become a tendency of many interest groups to mislead the public when their political agenda fails to succeed. As rightly said by someone, truth is the best disinfectant and hence we reaffirm our faith in the Supreme Court to decide the truth of the events.

We also urge the government to publish simplified facts and narrow the gap between the executive and the masses in order to prevent any further spread of falsity.

It is our earnest request to you to show support in this pledge as future legal luminaries of our country.

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