For the first time in the history of the country, the government is getting geared for dividing the citizen based on religion. The BJP government at the Centre is once again getting set to table and get passed in Lok Sabha, the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) – with a major departure from the country's heritage by making religion a criterion for citizenship.
The bill that had been tabled during the previous term of the government could not be passed then due to stiff objections from the coalition partners. This time, with the sizeable majority at its command, the BJP hopes to get the bill through. With the amendments becoming law, refugees who entered India without documents from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and neighbouring countries belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian religions can appy for and obtain Indian citizenship; the law will not apply to Muslims. In other words, if there are Muslims who entered the country like the others, they are, in the words of BJP president and union home minister Amit shah, 'termites' who eat the grain that should go to the poor and take 'our jobs', whom he had, during the campaign for the general election, vowed to expel if the BJP came to power again – which it has done now.
Even as the country is facing a frightening economic crisis and showing all signs of recession, instead of trying to correct its own blunders or to find a solutions for the slump, the sangh parivar government is busy pursuing its racist agenda which deepen disunity and anarchy, supremely blissful of the fact that it is throwing the country to an abyss of disaster. Anyone with a sense of statesmanship would, in such a situation, be in an attempt to rescue the nation from the whirpool of adversity and hold it together it with a string of unity. But the ruling dispensation of India under the Modi-Amit Shah duo - enamoured of the dubious distinction of the nick name of Chanakya - is indulging in crude experiments of racial polarisation, undisturbed even by the basic tenets of politics or governance. What the Centre is doing through the CAB is to drag the country to the same burning cauldron of disastrous partition, from which the country is in a constant endeavour to retract. In a phenomenon virtually in parallel with Israel - which came into being through the colonial-Zionist conspiracy as a home for global Jews and within it implemented 'apartheid' against the native Arab/Palestinian population - the sangh parivar and the stalwarts of its government are in an ill-concealed mood of exuberance of going to build a 'swaraj' (native land) for the Hindus.
As per existing Citizenship law of 1955, foreigners who have lived in the country for 12 years can apply for citizenship. The proposed legislation seeks to amend this so that permission is granted to non-Muslim foreigners from three neighbouring countries who have lived in India for six years. Citizenship is being offered to them on the pretext of their being subjected to religious persecution and thus forced to leave their country, but Muslims do not come under the provisions. Apart from that, it also contains an amendment by which holders of the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status, granted to foreign passport owners of Indian origin, stand the risk of their OCI status being instantly annulled on their violation of any law of the country. However, the law will not come to the rescue of Tamils arriving from the close neighbour Sri Lanka or the Rohingyans arriving from Myanmar. According the Centre's figures of 2016, there are nearly two crore Bangladeshi refugees, 13,000 refugees from Afghanistan and under 10,000 from Pakistan. Apart from this, there are 40,000 Rohingyans from Myanmar and an estimated half to a half lakh Chin Christians – both sections are outside the purview of the new bill. And together with this, the northeastern states, which have raised their concerns, have been excluded from the CAB.
The government's move runs counter to the constitution's articles 10, 14 and 15 that guarantee Indians the right to citizenship and equality before law to all. Even as Article 11 of the constitution empowers parliament to pass laws regarding citizenship, it should be subject to Article 13 that it does not violate fundamental rights. Ever since the political stream, which has been opposing the constitution which came into being on secular, democratic values, stabilised its hold on the government, 'reforms' such as this have been floated to build a new India of racial discrimination even bypassing the constitution. From now on, when parliament takes up the bill for consideration, it will become clear, whether the opposition, the states ruled by them, and the political parties who espouse the cause of secularism and democracy are able to view the move that will lead the country again to disunity with this required sense of seriousness.