Avani Dias, the South Asian correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, took to Twitter on Monday to bring in a bizarre correlation between actor Will Smith’s reported meeting with spiritual leader Sadhguru to disseminate false information about an Indian law that she claimed did not offer Muslim refugees citizenship in India. Her tweet alluded to the Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) that fast tracks the citizenship process of religious persecuted minorities from three neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
“Will Smith has been seen for the first time since The Slap and he’s in India. Reports he’s seeing Sadhguru, a spiritual leader who runs an ashram and once called a Muslim student ‘Talibani’ The guru also supports a law which doesn’t offer Muslim refugees citizenship in India,” she said in a tweet on Monday.
However, after being slammed by several social media users, Avani Dias deleted the tweet. Avani’s tweet was full of false information. Journalist Aditya Raj Kaul replied to her tweet by stating that there is no rule in India prohibiting Muslims from becoming citizens. He lambasted her, accusing her of spreading false information deliberately.
Thereafter, blatantly justifying her tweet, she said, “I never said that it’s “against citizenship to Muslims”. I said the act does not allow Muslim refugees citizenship in India, which is correct – read the legislation.”
Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a Twitter user, replied by saying that all of her arguments are bogus. He reinforced Aditya Raj Kaul’s position, saying that the law simply expedites citizenship for minorities in neighbouring Islamic nations and that other Muslims are allowed to apply for citizenship through normal channels.
Abhijit Iyer-Mitra made another tweet requesting action against Avani Dias. He wrote, “An @abcnews correspondent deliberately misrepresents a law & when pointed out, locks replies but doesn’t acknowledge the mistake or delete the tweet…”
An @abcnews correspondent deliberately misrepresents a law & when pointed out, locks replies but doesn’t acknowledge the mistake or delete the tweet. I’d urge you all to complain to the @AusPressCouncil here https://t.co/R1GrdgsWJZ… and ABC here https://t.co/oDWg67B0Wj… https://t.co/CDmFRXXhZc pic.twitter.com/3KzRg7QawV— Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (@Iyervval) April 25, 2022
CAA expedites the citizenship process for persecuted minorities from neighbouring Islamic countries
The tweet made by the ABC journalist is patently wrong as the Citizenship Amendment Act is non-discriminatory. The current legal procedure for attaining Indian citizenship by any foreigner of any type through Naturalization (Section 6 of the Citizenship Act) or Registration (Section 5 of the Act) remains in place, and the CAA makes no changes to it.
It only applies to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, and Christian immigrants who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014, owing to religious persecution. Muslims from these three nations are not barred from becoming citizens under the legislation. Hundreds of Muslims have been given Indian citizenship in the last few years after migrating from these three nations.
All future migrants will also be granted Indian citizenship if they are proven to be eligible, regardless of their number or religion.
Also, Avani’s statement about Sadhguru supporting a discriminatory law is also baseless as the law itself is non-discriminatory and is actually inclusive supporting the persecuted minorities in the countries neighbouring India.