As the misconception surrounding the Citizenship Amendment Act appears to be diminishing, some of the left-leaning intellectuals are going overboard to fan falsehoods and distortions about the recently legislated act. One such intellectual is the former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, who brazenly indulged in fueling fear among people with regard to the act that intends to grant citizenship to the persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Speaking at an event in Bengaluru, Kannan tried to imply that the Act has several loopholes which might be exploited by the central government. He argued that the Citizenship Amendment Act has not declared who an “illegal immigrant” is.
However, it appears that Kannan Gopinathan himself has not read the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 as well as the original Citizenship Act, 1955, or he has no idea about acts and their amendments. The CAA is just an amendment to the existing Citizenship Act 1955. The CAA becomes part of the Citizenship Act by providing fast-tracking of the citizenship process for the persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and it is not an independent act.
The Citizenship Act 1955 clearly states the definition of an “illegal immigrant”. The act mentions that “illegal migrant” means a foreigner who has entered into India “either without a valid passport or travel documents and such other document or authority as may be prescribed by or under any law in that behalf or with a valid passport or other travel documents and such other document or authority as may be prescribed by or under any in that behalf but remains therein beyond the permitted period of time”.
This is the case with any amendment, they define words only if they are newly introduced, the amendments do not define terms which are already defined in the original act, as there is no need to do that. By alleging that the amendment does not define the term ‘illegal immigrant’, the former IAS officer displays a shocking ignorance about the Indian legal system.
However, Kannan did not stop there. Continuing his fear-mongering about the Act amongst the Muslim population of the country, Kannan said in the interaction that the Citizenship Amendment Act does not “clearly say how Indian Muslims will be spared during the process”.
By alleging that there is nothing in the Act that states Muslims will be spared, Kannan is not only conveniently brushing aside the assurances provided by PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah that the Act in no way affect the Indian Muslims, but also adding fuel to fire by alluding that Indian Muslims might lose their citizenship due to enactment of the CAA. However, the Act applies to persons only belonging to three foreign countries-Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and not to the Indian citizens.
Notwithstanding PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s repeated assurances that the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 has no bearing on the Indian Muslims, Kannan continued inciting misgivings about the Act in a desperate attempt to keep alive the wilting anti-CAA protests.