Why Citizenship Amendment Bill is required?

What is the Amendment?

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, seeks to give Indian nationality to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The bill was passed in the Lower House yesterday by 411 votes in favour. there were 80 votes opposing the bill.

The Bill seeks to amend the procedure for grant of citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have lived in India without documentation. They will be granted fast-track Indian citizenship in six years, relaxing present requirement of 12 years of residence as eligibility requirement for naturalisation.

Why the amendment is required?

Bill seeks to regularise about half a million of asylum seekers who are living in India for decades. It does nothing for those who are still accross the border.

It does not legalize illegal migrants who sneaked into India through porus borders from Bangladesh and Pakistan. It also exclude Rohingyas of Myanmar.

The reason for this provision is in history.

The forgotten speech of Jinnah:

Please read the following extract of Jinnah’s speech delivered on 11 August 1947:

“On both sides, in Hindustan and Pakistan, there are sections of people who may not agree with it, who may not like it; but in my judgement there was no other solution, and I am sure future history will record its verdict in favour of it. And what is more, it will be proved by actual experience as we go on that that was the only solution of India’s constitutional problem. Any idea of a united India could never have worked, and in my judgement it would have led us to terrific disaster. Maybe that view is correct; maybe it is not; that remains to be seen. All the same, in this division it was impossible to avoid the question of minorities being in one Dominion or the other. Now that was unavoidable. There is no other solution. Now what shall we do? Now, if we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor. If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed. If you change your past and work together in a spirit that every one of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste, or creed, is first, second, and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.

[[7]] I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit, and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community — because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalees, Madrasis and so on — will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence, and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls, in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State. As you know, history shows that in England conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State.

[Source: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00islamlinks/txt_jinnah_assembly_1947.html ]

However after death of Jinnah, the above commitment was forgotten. Pakistan became an oppressive Islamic State. Afganistan and Bangladesh too are Islamic States.

There was also a Jawahar/Liaquat pact between India and Pakistan in which it was committed by both countries that they will protect their minorities. The Pakistan failed to honour it’s commitment. The population of minorities in Pakistan came down to 3% from 23%. Where did they go? Perhaps died or converted. See the image below:

Minorities in all these places which were once India, are being oppressed and they have no option to run to. However by this law these oppressed people are provided citizenship of India.

If the Muslim majority of Af-pa-bang is offered citizenship, then except the police and military, the entire population would jump the border and seek citizenship of India.

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