CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act)

CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act)

What is CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act)? Why it is widely criticized?

CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) – 2019, is an Act passed by the Indian parliament on December 11, 2019. This is an amendment Act which amends the Citizenship Act 1955 & allows a way to grant Indian citizenship to religious minority citizens from 3 neighboring countries of India. These countries are Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan. Members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian which are religious minorities in these countries can get Indian citizenship using this Act. According to this Act migrants who had entered India by 31 December 2014 because of religious persecution were made eligible for citizenship

This Act is in huge controversy from the day when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the Indian government presented the CAA bill in Lok Sabha (Lower house of Indian parliament). The amendment has been widely criticized as discriminating on the basis of religion, in particular for excluding Muslims. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also criticized the Act.

The opposition parties including Indian National Congress, TMC, AIMIM, Leftist parties & people from Muslim community are strongly opposing this Act. 

According to critics of CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) – 2019

  • This bill clearly targets Muslims. This bill would be used, along with the National Register of Citizens, to make many Muslim citizens stateless. People from other religions would have a chance to get citizenship using this Act but Muslims will have no options. 
  • India is a secular country & citizenship should be given on legal grounds, not on religious grounds. This bill is an attack on the secular structure of Indian democracy.
  • There are also other persecuted religious minorities in Indian neighboring countries like Tamil in Sri Lanka, Rohingya in Myanmar, Siya & Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan. Why are they excluded?
  • This bill fire up Radical Hindu Nationalism & trying to set a narrative that Muslims are not loyal to the country. They can’t be trusted.

While the ruling BJP government states that this Act is a way to give citizenship to the persecuted religious minorities of neighboring countries. Muslims are not only in the majority in these 3 countries but also Islam is the official religion of state. There is no possibility of religious persecution of Muslims in these countries. 

Many state governments are trying, not to implement this Act on their state and finding legal & constitutional ways for it. Assam and other northeastern states are already in trouble because of illegal migrants & refugees. Granting Indian citizenship to immigrants will cause a loss of their “political rights, culture and land rights” and motivate further migration from Bangladesh.

This Act created big chaos in India. Violent demonstrations seen against the bill in West Bengal, Assam & north-east. Government deployed troops & enforced curfew in these states to control the situation. Major protests against the Act were held at Jamia Miliya University and Aligarh Muslim University. A group led by Muslim women have blocked a major highway in New Delhi at Shaheen Bagh.

Both sides have different opinions. While the Act has been widely criticized by the opposition parties, Muslim citizens, many countries, European Union & foreign media, it’s also true that it’s getting massive support from BJP supporters & Hindu voters, which are in majority. it seems impossible that the government would step back on CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) – 2019.

You can read this book for more on CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) – 2019

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