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Afghan and Rohingya Muslims start converting to Christianity to get Indian citizenship under CAA: Report

Rohingyas are clearly bypassing a safe haven in the form of Bangladesh to reach India for the purpose of gaining material benefits. Thus, quite clearly, it makes them economic migrants when they enter India and not persecuted minorities.

Since the Citizenship Amendment Act has come into effect, there has been a sudden spike in the number of Afghan Muslims and Rohingya Muslims, who are illegal immigrants in India, wanting to convert to Christianity so as to become eligible for Indian citizenship.

According to a report by The Economic Times, the central agencies, aware of this development, have apprised the government that almost 25 such cases of Afghan Muslims converting to Christianity has come to the fore.

Adib Ahmed Maxwell, who heads an Afghan church in south Delhi, told ET: “Post CAA, there has been a spurt in the number of Afghan Muslims wanting to convert to Christianity.

CAA does not provide to accept Rohingya Muslims as India citizens

It is pertinent to note here, that the historic Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which came into force from January 10, 2020, seeks to provide Indian Citizenship to the persecuted minorities belonging to six non-Muslim communities, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Since Rohingyas are illegal immigrants who have unduly entered the Indian soil through Bangladesh, the Indian government has refused to accept them and give them Indian citizenship. As such, India is not bound even by international norms to accept Rohingyas. 

During the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now an act) debate in December last year, Home Minister Amit Shah had categorically refused to accept Rohingyas in the country. He had clearly pointed out that India has not ratified any international convention on refugees and as such, international laws on refugees were not binding upon India as a sovereign country.

India not bound to accept Rohingya Muslims

India is not a party to the 1951 Convention on Refugees and neither the 1967 Protocol. Therefore, no international convention is binding on India. Even if we take into account the international conventions, the Rohingyas are clearly bypassing a safe haven in the form of Bangladesh to reach India for the purpose of gaining material benefits. Thus, quite clearly, it makes them economic migrants when they enter India and not persecuted minorities.

Afghan Muslims and Rohingyas continue to illegally live in India

Since these illegal immigrants are aware that they will not be granted Indian citizenship, they are now deviously adopting Christianity. According to official data, there are 150,000-160,000 Afghan Muslims living in Delhi. Besides, official estimates suggest there are nearly 40,000 Rohingya Muslims illegally living across India, with the highest number in Jammu and Kashmir. A large number of these migrants have been residing in India prior to 2012 and are now claiming to be from Bangladesh while taking up Christianity.

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