Citizenship Amendment : Correction of a historical mistake

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Shiv Prakash

BJP government has provided a panacea for the long term historical mistake committed by the then Congress government, who divided the country land on the basis of religion. Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) intends to protect the rights of lakhs of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parses and Christians, left out in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh during partition. With the successful passage of CAB in both the assemblies, India would be able to grant permanent citizenship to these minorities. This step of government is not against any specific religion. In fact, it should be seen as an attempt to bring back Indian society to its grassroots. This could have been initiated, immediately after the independence.

This whole subject needs to be seen in a historical perspective. Prior to the independence movement of India, when there was no existence of Pakistan and Bangladesh, there were collective participations and efforts of nationalists from every region of the then Undivided territory. During 1947, when India divided, Pakistan evolved as a new country. A part of Bengal also became an integral element of Pakistan, which later evolved as Bangladesh. It is worth noticing here that post partition, there were communities of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parses and Christians, who were involved in the independence movement, were remained there itself, post freedom. Trilok nath Chatterjee was one of those famous nationalist in Bangladesh. Whether the immense contribution of Chatterjee should be seen as a fault. It is the responsibility of all nationalists to protect the rights of those who sacrificed their lives for motherland. Under the leadership of Prime minister Narendra Modi, Government has made an effort to collectivise the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddists, Jains, Parses and Christian nationalists, persecuted in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Citizenship Amendment Bill is being opposed by only those political parties, who have been doing minority politics in the name of Secularism. The basis of their opposition is solely for political advantage. They have blamed government in one voice for keeping Muslims away from citizenship intentionally. Instead, the prime objective of bill clearly states that it aims to assist the settlement of the persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parses and Christians in India.It is very clear that CAB doesn’t change the current citizenship status of Muslims living in Country. This law will not affect their citizenship in any ways. Home Minister Shri Amit Shah has categorically mentioned in his speech in parliament that this law is not a citizenship seizer, but a citizenship provider one. Congress along with other political parties need to understand this and should avoid creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion among Indian Muslims. It is crystal clear that if Congress would not have accepted religion based division of country during partition, then we would not have landed in this situation.

This is not the first time when only BJP government has done something like this for minorities of country. Prior this, Rajasthan’s CM Ashok Gehlot made a demand to award citizenship to 13000 persecuted Hindus and Sikhs. In addition, Earstwhile PM ManMohan Singh also batted for the citizenship of persecuted Hindus in parliament in 2003. No one can ignore the level of oppression faced by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after 1947. Especially, there were maltreatments and incidences of rape with females of these communities. That’s why it is the major responsibility of nation like India to protect the rights of persecuted communities of Hindu religion, so that they could live a better and prosperous life. This is not the first time, when BJP is taking forward the rights of its religion and communities. Swami Vivekanand, in his famous Chicago speech, had boasted about the asylum for Christians and Jews in India. In similar direction, India has made an attempt to protect and provide asylum to the minorities, oppressed in the neighbouring countries. It is quite known to everyone about the conditions of minorities in the neighbouring nations.

Statistics from Pakistan standalone suggest that how the conditions of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parses and Christians have been continuously deteriorating. At the time of independence, Hindu population was >23%, right now the population is less than 2.5%. And this situation is when, the then India’s PM Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’ s Liyakat Ali Khan made an agreement for the security of minorities. India well respected the agreement, while Pakistan has not yet given proper heed, clearly reflects from the statistics.

Opposition parties are flaring up Article 14, which states that equality is before law and these parties are arguing that all the decisions being taken up by BJP for political dividends. Similar kinds of blames were surfaced during abrogation of Article 370 and Triple Talaq. These parties are actually mistaken and have always been opposing such decisions, but BJP is correcting the historical errors made by Congress. It has always been an integral part of BJP’s manifesto. Since, People of India have given landmark mandate to BJP, it is vivid that they need a permanent remedy to these grave concerns. However, Congress has been using Pseudo Secualrism for the political benefits in the country for the long time.

The writer is BJP National Joint General Secretary (Org.)