February 23, 2020
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Opinion: CAB less clear

Last day, the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, was tabled in the Lower House of the Indian Parliament, Lok Sabha. The same is set to be tabled in the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, Today.

In the house and outside, the bill has been opposed strongly by the opposition. Several protests have been organised across the country – especially in the north east region of the country – against the bill.

The bill seeks to make it easier for non-Muslim (that is, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian) refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to secure citizenship in the country.

The said religious communities are selected as beneficiaries on the basis of the assumption that these communities are vulnerable to religious persecution in the said countries.

In a sense, the bill is a boon to refugees. But, the bill’s questionable silence in many important matters related to refugees makes it highly susceptible to criticism.

Firstly, it does not recognise the fact that the said countries are not the only countries in our neighbourhood where religious persecution exists. It is there in Myanmar; it is there in Sri Lanka; it is there in Bhutan; and it is even in the Communist China.

In fact, the way Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh are clubbed together is also improper. Primarily, Afghanistan does not even have a direct border with India, if the POK region is ignored.

Secondly, the said communities are not the only communities in these three countries which are vulnerable to religious persecution. The bill does not consider the cases of Shia Muslim community, Ahmadiyas in Pakistan, and many like them. In fact, sometimes, even those in the majority communities in these countries are subjected to religious persecution. The case of Taslima Nasrin is a good example to show. The bill seeks not bothered about the plight of thousands like Ms. Taslima, who lives under the protection of India.

Thirdly, and importantly, the bill stands contrary to the concept of secularism the Indian constitution stands for.

The bill in its present form will only help to give strength to the allegation that transforming the democratic country of India to a fundamentalist nation is the main political agenda of the present government.

Rushing the bill in its present form through the parliament may even make the positive sides, which the bill has, go unnoticed.

Actually, the bill has many positive sides. Politicising the bill will only prove counterproductive. The only helpful thing that the political community can do now is to let the bill be subjected to thorough discussion in the parliament.

The opposition must make sure that they do not pull up irrelevant questions merely to show its hatred towards the ruling. And, the ruling must show resolve to hear whatever the opposition puts forth and to take in the relevant ones to make the bill more acceptable and flawless.

What lacks in the present generation is tolerance towards discussions. All major goods happened to our society have been achieved through discussions. Undisputedly, showing tolerance towards discussions can do miracles to this bill too.

Photo Courtesy: Google/ images are subject to copyright

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