What is CAB now CAA and what clarifications for the questions raised against CAA ?
THE CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) Act, 2019 is a Act further to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. It is not a full fledged Act but a a narrow-tailored law specifically meant for religiously persecuted minorities in the 3 specified countries namely Pakistan, Bangaladesh and Afghanisthan.
It says that “Any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or
Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan and who has entered into
India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and staying here to safeguard their lives, shall not be treated as illegal migrant.”
*1. Citizenship Amendment Act is against Indian Muslims, they need to get their papers ready to continue living in the country.*
The Citizenship Amendment Act has nothing to do with Indian citizens, Muslim or otherwise, as it seeks to grant citizenship to religious minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. People belonging to Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsi or Christian communities from these three countries who have come to India before 31/12/2014 for religious persecution and already living in India will be able to apply for citizenship after the amendment is passed. No Indian citizen will be asked to produce any document to prove citizenship after the CAA is passed, it is just false propaganda being spread by some people.
*2. Muslims from other countries can’t become Indian citizens after CAA is passed*
CAA is a special one-time measure for the religious minorities who have already come to India after facing persecution in the three specified countries. The amendment does not cancel the existing naturalisation laws. Any person from any foreign country seeking to be Indian citizen can apply for the same under the existing laws. There is no bar on Muslims from anywhere in the world to seek Indian citizenship under existing laws, CAA does not prohibit that. They can apply for Indian citizenship under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, which deals with citizenship by naturalization.
*3.Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan can’t apply for citizenship or refuge in India*
Although Muslims from these countries have been excluded from the CAA, it does not mean the door is shut forever for becoming Indian citizens. Although they are not given blanket relaxation to apply for citizenship under CAA, the usual naturalisation law remains available to them. Harish Salve asserted that the CAA does not undermine or interfere with the existing rules of asylum and Muslims can continue to seek asylum or apply for citizenship under the existing rules.
*4.Illegal Muslim immigrants living in India will be deported after CAA is passed*
CAA gives citizenship to people of six communities from three countries living in India, but it does not deal with the deportation of illegal immigrants. Although it protects Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis or Christians who had entered India illegally from deportation by giving an opportunity to apply for citizenship, it does not say anything about deportation as that is the subject matter of another law, the Foreigners Act, not the Citizenship Act which the Act seeks to amend. The process of deporting anyone entering and living illegally in India is an ongoing process, and the CAA does not change that.
*5.Any Hindu can become Indian citizen after CAA is passed*
Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis or Christians from only from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who are already living in India for at least five years can apply for citizenship. It does not give automatic citizenship to Hindus, they must have lived in India for at least five years, and after that, they have to apply for citizenship. It is not particularly biased in favour of Hindus as many are arguing. Six communities from three countries have been given relaxation, for everyone else the normal naturalisation law remains applicable. For example, there are lots of Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus living in camps in Tamil Nadu, but they have not been included in CAA. These Sri Lankans had fled the country during the war with LTTE in 1990s and are living in several camps.
*6. If CAA is about religious persecution, why Shias, Ahmediyyas, Hazaras, Balochs and Rohingyas are not included*
Shias, Ahmediyyas, Hazaras all these groups are Muslims ethnic groups , they are not recognised as separate religions anywhere in the world. As Muslims, they are not minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, which are either officially Islamic countries or have a very high Muslim majority. Therefore, it is not possible to include these Muslim groups in the Act as it is specifically made for religious minorities in those countries. Harish Salve stated on this doubt that the countries specified in the CAA have their own state religion and Islamic rules. He added that Islamic majority nations identify their people as per who follows Islam and who does not. Addressing governance problems in neighboring countries is not the purpose of the CAA. Still, if any Muslims are being persecuted in these Islamic countries for practising their version of Islam, they can apply for asylum in India. India has already provided asylum to Tibetans, and a large number of people from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda etc.
Moreover, Balochs and Rohingyas are not religious groups, they are ethnic groups. Baloch people are not wanting to migrate to India or any other country, they are demanding an independent nation in the Baloch region. Therefore, it does not make sense to include in CAA. In the case of Rohingyas, although they fled Myanmar after they were allegedly targeted by the military, their situation was not the same what minorities are facing in the three Islamic countries. It is alleged that the Rohingyas were targeted in retaliation after they had attacked people from other communities, including Hindus, in Myanmar. Similarly there are allegations that the Rohingya groups have been active in terror activities in Myanmar for a long time. Citing this the Indian Government is saying that the Rohingya groups remain a security threat to India, and they can’t be given any blanket relaxation for citizenship.
*7. CAA is against the Indian Constitution as the constitution prohibits discrimination in the name of religion*
CAA aims to provide the persecuted minorities in these 3 countries a special status in the naturalisation process and it does not mean in any way that other communities or people will not be naturalised at all, for other communities the rules of general asylum process will be followed. So there is no violation of Article 14 here. As a requirement laid down by various SC judgements under Article 14, that in order to pass the test of reasonable classification under Article 14, only thing needs to be seen is THAT SIMILARLY PLACED PEOPLE ARE PLACED SIMILARLY and not all are placed equally, if that would have been the case all minority schemes would have become illegal immediately
*8.People in North East are opposing CAA because it is discriminatory*
Although it is true that some people in north-eastern states, particularly in Assam, are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, their reason of protest is completely different to the protest as being orchestrated on the ground of discrimination against the muslims. People in north-east are against giving citizenship to illegal immigrants from Bangladesh or anywhere, regardless of religion, and that’s why they are opposing it. People in the northeast don’t want any foreigners to be given citizenship, while outside northeast the opposition to the Act is over the exclusion of Muslims. Both the groups are actually on completely opposite stands in their opposition to the Act.