Thoughts on CAB
Columns, In Black & White

Thoughts on CAB

December 14, 2019

The Citizenship Act of 1955 has been amended again and passed. This Act has been amended five times before, thrice by the Congress Government and twice by the BJP. The Bill was amended in 1986, 1992, 2003, 2005 and 2015. In the recent amendment, illegal Muslim immigrants have been left out from being legalised as Indian citizens.

The new amendment to this Bill states that Indian Citizenship will be given to all illegal immigrants of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian faiths hailing from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India to escape ‘religious persecution.’ No, illegal Muslims cannot avail this provision but they can apply separately for asylum and citizenship like Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen and Pakistani Music composer Adnan Sami did.

As this Bill was passed, a perception was created that our nation was in chaos.  Obviously, a nation will seem to be in a state of chaos when political parties, sniffing an “appeasement” opportunity in Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), say it is anti-Indian Muslim who is an Indian citizen. 

The Opposition parties and other Civil Right Groups are opposing the CAB on the ground that it discriminates against Muslims. Yes, it does discriminate against “illegal” Muslim immigrants not Indian Muslims. This Government clearly says this amendment is for illegal immigrants who have been “persecuted” for their religious beliefs in the three neighbouring Muslim nations. “Persecuted for their religious beliefs” is the operative phrase.

It may very well be that this Government’s logic is that there are over 50 majority Muslim countries in the world. Out of this 7 have adopted Islam as the ideological foundation of their State and Constitution, another 21 have endorsed Islam as their State religion, the three countries named in the Bill are among this 21. So it is obvious that BJP feels if a Muslim wants to seek refuge from “religious” persecution from a nation ruled by their own faith, then they have 49 other Muslim countries to choose from to relocate.

But then so do Christians and Buddhists, they have nations where they are a majority too. That is why it seems like the other religions were added more to give a “secular” touch. 

Also the BJP may be considering the persecution of Muslims in Muslim countries as an internal matter of Islam. In the sense that if a Shia Muslim is persecuted in a Sunni majority Muslim nation, then they can move to Shia majority nation instead of India. 

One gets a sense that this Government feels, while Muslims, Christians and even Buddhists have many nations where they are a majority and will be accepted, where will Hindus go? Obviously India. After all, India is the only majority Hindu nation in the world along with Nepal. So may be for BJP, India is to Hindus what Israel is to Jews. The last safe haven. 

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This does not mean India will one day become only for Hindus. It will never happen. The very fact that a  party perceived as being minority appeasing in nature ruled this nation of Hindu majority for half a century is proof of that and with that comes the much spoken about Article 14 in the Constitution. 

The members of the Opposition and concerned civil society activists say leaving out illegal Muslims is unconstitutional under Article 14 which states:  “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” The equal protection of law means the State will not frame laws or rules that discriminate between two persons. If this is the case, where are these “secular voices” when Muslims in India operate under a separate law? Is this not contrary to Article 14 and also corrosive to the homogeneity of a nation? If we are one nation, should we all not be ruled by one law? 

Now, let’s not fool ourselves. The BJP brought this amendment because their calculation went wrong with National Register of Citizens (NRC). Because when former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh had suggested the same provision in CAB with illegal Muslims also included the BJP then had objected. Probably thinking that there were too many illegal Muslim immigrants in the North East. But when the NRC list was finalised they realised it was not Muslims but nearly 19 lakh Bangladeshi Hindus who were illegal immigrants and now this CAB amendment fixes this problem by bringing about their legitimacy. 

The CAB implementation will indeed change the demography of the North East and this is what the protest in the North East is all about. They are not protesting because “illegal Muslims” were left out of the Bill, they are protesting because they don’t want their hills to turn into, as one student leader put it, “dumping ground for immigrants who are culturally different.” 

They fear a repeat of what happened in Tripura where for decades illegal immigration has taken place and today the indigenous people are a minority in their own land. This has affected their political representation and with that their social, political and economic relevance. They have become irrelevant in their own land. 

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Indeed the protestors are right in saying they should not be the dumping ground for immigrants. Herein lies the BJP’s failure. They failed to prepare for the outcome of CAB, they did not engage the leaders who have for decades been against legalising immigrants in their land, they failed to take an otherwise helpful Bangladesh Government into confidence. In the end there is misinformation and no clarity in the solution for North East people.

This North East protest throws up another Constitutional issue, that of Article 19. This Article states it is the fundamental right of every Indian to move freely throughout the territory of India and reside, settle or carry on any occupation. 

But even today an Indian citizen has to obtain a document called Inner Line Permit to enter certain North Eastern States, a kind of Visa to enter another State within our own country.  So it is ironic that while North East States don’t want other Indians coming to their State, they travel all across India to make a career. 

Also some States in the North have been given special status, so special that only indigenous people can buy land. This is done in order to protect their unique cultural demography. But on the other hand these indigenous people can buy land in other States of India! How fair is that? 

This is exactly why even people from Kodagu are asking for this special status. Kodavas are tribals, they have a unique culture unlike any other people around them, they live in a unique geographic area and their demography is threatened by immigration from Kerala. So why is BJP not making Kodagu special? Are only border States unique, not so much because of their culture but because of national security? We are sure in time many other communities will claim they are unique and want protectionist policies. Makes one wonder when will Indians become Indians first and Indians last as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar hoped?

For now, CAB has nothing to do with Muslims in India. It has to do with providing a safe haven for persecuted Hindus from the three Muslim countries. And the North East alone should not have to bear the burden of immigration — BJP has to give a solution, not just forced implementation.

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  1. Tausif says:

    @Vikram: Your thought prove you are Sanghi.
    Why so much love you are pouring for “illegal Hindus” and hate for illegal “Muslims”.
    India is not Hindu country to accept illegal Hindus. India is still Bharat not Hindustan.
    No country in current situation accepts any illegal migrants irrespective of religion so your logic has flaw.
    Moreover sanghis are running Savarka-Jinna ideology.

  2. citizen says:

    Moral of the story is, this government is having destructive mindset.
    UPA, brought bills which entire nation and BPL people got benefited and lifted themselves from poverty, till date RTE is tool for corers of children across India, built prestigious institutes across India, major universities in India.
    Beautiful bills like RTI, RTE, Food security etc
    What this government is doing ?? Demonetization, hastily placed GST, Article 370, NRC. CAB, Triple talaaq, who is getting benefited from it ?? NO ONE ! . Article 370 even after 126 days kashmir is still shut down , army in lakhs in place !! Who is getting benefited ?? no citizen of this country is getting single benefit. It is clearly creating chaos in entire country. Destroying democracy, poaching MLA’s, governor working like slaves, President office misused. WASTE OF OUR TAX MONEY for foolish issues to gain their political momentum
    Major countries have given travel advisory to its citizen to avoid traveling to India, before we were seeing such advisory for Pakistan and Afghanistan, it is sad to see now it is getting issued to India.
    It is becoming from Incredible India to a Rouge nation.

  3. Govind Pai says:

    The point that Mr. Vikram misses (either through design or lack of understanding) when he says only “illegal” Muslims will be affected is that, on the ground, “illegal” is defined by lack of a piece of paper, I.e., an ID. As all of us, who live in Bharat (as distinct from India) know, many poor and illiterate people (and a large proportion of Muslims belong to this group) who live from hand to mouth (those whom Amit Shah characterizes as “termites”) don’t carry such documentation, though they may well have been living in this country all their lives. Lack of the suitable paper makes them illegals. Of course, since the UIDAI came into being in 2009 and since an Aadhar card became necessary for gas connection and most government subsidies, even the poor probably got a proper Id from 2010 onward. So most people, legal or illegal, are bound to have proper IDs at least by 2014. And, hey presto, any non Muslim who can show he has been in the country since 2014 gets citizenship! But a Muslim will have to show an ID dating back at least 11 years, when UIDAI had not yet started its work and IDs were probably iffy. Brilliant way (if one characterizes such slimy tricks as brilliance) to marginalize and disenfranchise poor (not necessarily illegal) Muslims. What have we and our great Hindu religion (Vasudeva Kutumbakam) sunk to! A sad day.

  4. Suri says:

    Mr Vikram,
    You are misleading the public by your statement -“In the recent amendment, illegal Muslim immigrants have been left out from being legalised as Indian citizens.” Really ? Where in the act it is said this way? It’s unfortunate that you are one of the top journalist in Mysore !

  5. The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) has created a political storm, with protests in Assam and the rest of the North-east, which fears that thousands of Hindus from neighbouring Bangladesh would gain citizenship. Assamese organizations allege that the bill will pass the burden of illegal migrants to the state alone. Meanwhile, the government has maintained that the bill is not Assam-centric, but applicable to the whole country. It is not against the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is being updated to protect indigenous communities from illegal immigrants. The government has also clarified that the bill does not dilute the sanctity of the Assam Accord as far as the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, stipulated for detection/deportation of illegal immigrants is concerned.

    The bill also drew flak from opposition parties for excluding Muslims from the religious communities that it seeks to grant Indian citizenship to on grounds of religious persecution. The opposition has also been criticising the government for excluding Muslims from countries such as Nepal and Sri Lanka. Hence the onus is on the Centre to tweak the legislation if necessary to allay fears and misgivings experienced by citizen groups anywhere in India to which Home Minister Amit Shah has already agreed.

  6. A Heart says:

    Well written article. Especially, highlighting the cause of Kodavas. Frankly, no issues with Indian muslims; however, they are mislead by their uneducated mullas during Fridays. The amount of toxic poured into their brains is unimaginable. Moreover, the mullas need to understand that they did not fall from sky and landed in India, their ancestors were hindus who were forcefully converted into islam by great kings of Mughals. This fact is undeniable. Add politics & religion, the scenario becomes a perfect script for disaster.

  7. VK says:

    “In Black and White” , the guy can see in just one color. It is sickening that Vikram stupidly included a section about special provision for kodagu. I cant believe that just happened, it is very clear now why and how Star of Mysore is being used for. All the flattery and A$$ kissing in the articles. A total disgrace that you are using the newspaper, people of Mysuru respect and trust for such dissolute agenda.

  8. Bharath says:

    Am still trying to Understand……

    1) Moghuls became Indians and Indians became Kafirs.
    2) Nehru-Khan-Maino became Gandhis and Indians became fools.
    3) Invaders became Kashmiris and Kashmiri Pandits became refugees.
    4) Bangladeshis became Bengalis and Bengalis couldn’t celebrate Durga Puja in soon to become West Bangladesh
    5) Those who are intolerant of Hindus became Secular and the real secular people became Sanghi terrorists.
    6) The Maoists and UrbanNaxals became Intellectuals and the Intellectuals became Bakhts.
    7) Terrorists became ‘sons-of-poor-headmasters’ who killed/beheaded army men and the army men became human rights violators who used guns on these peaceful terrorists.
    😎 The wood used for Asthi became an environmental concern while the land used for burials became secular birth rights.
    9) The wool used in Rakhi during Rakshabandan hurt sheep but thousands of goats slaughtered in the most cruel manner during Bakri Eid became religious freedom.
    10) Appeasement became secular while Equality became Communal.
    11) RSS org. became terrorists but Hafiz Saheb and Hurriyat netas became pinnacles of nationalism and peace.
    12) Bharat Mata Ki Jai became communal while Bharat Tere Tukde Honge was called “Freedom Of Expression.”
    13) Divide And Rule became inclusive and Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas became division.
    A very dangerous situation is being created in the country by the so called secular people, without realising the poisonous end it is creating~ & We are still sleeping 😞


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