CAA: Citizenship Amendment Act

The Citizenship Amendment Act is going to take away the rights of Muslims and essentially, Muslims are going to be at the receiving end of this discriminatory law passed by the government. Indian Muslims or citizens should not go through this rigorous scrutiny of documentation. Those who have stayed decades-long in the country are questioned about their identity and ownership of their nationality.

Some of the thinkers and political analysts also argue that this law is not just anti-Muslim but it is anti-constitutional as well as potentially anti- Hindu as well. It is known that the CAA is a law that puts all the migrants migrated to India, particularly from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan post the year 2014 will be screened and tested based on their religious identity to be granted Indian citizenship. If these three countries Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are selectively chosen then why not Myanmar if it is from a historical point of view and the choosing criteria is Muslim countries where Hindus have been persecuted then why the countries like Myanmar and Maldives not been chosen who also share a border with India and fulfill the other two criteria as well. The countries have been chosen arbitrarily and this law prima facia, is a discrimination based on religion.

When NRC was implemented in Assam in 2019, it was found that around 19 lakh were undocumented and out of them an estimated 7 lakhs of them were found to be Hindus. It cannot be denied that illegal economic migration is a real problem for many bordering states like West Bengal, Assam and many other other East states. Along with that religious persecution is an issue that has to be taken into account.

On the other end, the cut-off timing of the CAA as 2014 is confusing because it is not that the persecution of Hindus in Muslim countries, especially in these three neighboring countries has ceased after 2014 rather it has increased with time. So to mention that the persecution of Hindus is way more rigorous in Bangladesh than in Pakistan.

The CAA application portal is a very document-intensive process as the applicants are asked to produce a clutch of documents mandatory for getting citizenship granted. Earlier notified the government that this act was for the refugees who had no documents but now they are asking for documentation from these undocumented people. A refugee who has been staying in a particular country for several years is eligible for citizenship in that country. Here the question is what is the need for a law like CAA, in the first place, as argued by certain critics.

The home ministry has explained a positive narrative about the CAA, stating that this will rather protect Muslims from being tarnished. Though there has been a political showdown regarding the implementation of CAA before the 2024 elections. The government of India, principles it on religious persecution whereas the critics assert on the grounds of anti-Muslim law. The Muslims fear that they will be excluded and have no recourse to reside and be counted as citizens in the country. The positive narratives dictate that nothing has been changed for anybody in the law due to the NRC or the CAA. It is only the fear-mongers who spread the wrong narratives.  The government will neither take away anyone’s job nor their citizenship with the implementation, as assured by the BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.