As we enter the third week of Anti CAA(Citizenship Amendment Act) protests, only two things have remained fairly constant in the ever changing dynamics of Indian polity.The first being the silence of the Indian government on the violence across the nation and another being the inability of the public to understand the true essence of the Bill.Is there a reason behind this awkward silence?
The Act seeks to amend the definition of illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have lived in India without documentation. They will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years. So far 12 years of residence has been the standard eligibility requirement for naturalisation.
The President gave his assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, on December 12, a day after it was passed by the RajyaSabha. However, the home ministry has yet to notify the rules to operationalise the law. The notification of rules may now have to wait as a decision in this regard will be taken after seeking experts’ advice since the matter is sub judice before the Supreme Court.
Sixty-five writ petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the legal validity of the CAA. The Apex court has asked the Union government to respond by the second week of January.
Alongside,protesters have also continued to take to the streets amidst police bans. Several thousand people have also been detained and internet services have been suspended as the authorities battle to restore order.The Reasons behind these protests vary greatly with geography,some are protesting because the CAA allegedly violates the secular identity of the country while others fear that it will endanger their linguistic and cultural identity.More than 20 people have died in ten days of clashes sparked by the bill, which critics see as anti-Muslim.
This Familiar Religious Divide which has been conveniently used by power hungry parties to gain political mileage has had a significant role in exacerbating the anti-Sikh riots in ’84 the Gujarat riots in 2002, the Muzaffarnagar incident in 2013 and now the Anti-CAA Protests in 2019.Among the main opposition against the Bill is that it is said to be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution — the Right to Equality. Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI(M) and a few other political parties have been steadfastly opposing the bill, claiming that citizenship can’t be given on the basis of religion, with the Chief Minister Of West Bengal going to the extent of challenging the BJP-led government at the Centre to go for a UN-monitored referendum on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed NRC.
Whether the CAA is against the Constitution of the Land is upto the Apex Court to decide but in his defence Union Home Minister Amit Shah has described the contentious Citizen Amendment
Act as a measure endorsed by 130 crore citizens. “The Citizenship Amendment Bill has the endorsement of 130 crore citizens of the country as it was part of the BJP manifesto in the LokSabha elections of 2014 and 2019.This seems totally Logical, considering the fact that the CAA is not something the centre pulled out of the blue.The Bill was introduced in LokSabha on 19 July 2016 as the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.The Bill was taken into consideration and passed by LokSabha on 8 January 2019. It was pending for consideration and passing by the RajyaSabha. Consequent to dissolution of 16th LokSabha, this Bill had lapsed.
Having fought and swept the LokSabha Elections on the basis of a manifesto which revolved around the ideas of Article 370,Ram Mandir,TripleTalaq and The Citizenship Amendment Act, the NDA Government is well within it’s rights and morally bound to deliver on its pre-poll promises by bringing the act into effect.If the opposition didn’t voice out their concerns about this 6 Months ago, why are they protesting today? What has Changed?
Maybe by being one of the few Governments to deliver on pre-poll promises,the NDA has caught people by surprise.It’s not something we see quite often do we?
As I near the end of the article,Prime Minister Modi has Finally come out and spoken about the turmoil in the country saying that the law would have “no effect on citizens of India, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Buddhists”. He also blamed the opposition for the protests, accusing them of “spreading lies and rumours” and “instigating violence” and “creating an atmosphere of illusion and falsehood”.
Yes,Every Individual in a democracy has the right to freedom of speech and expression as well as the freedom to have an independent opinion. But the question that remains is, Does this freedom come at the cost of violence,damage to public property and endangerment of lives?
This Article is based solely on facts available in the public domain and doesn’t mean to promote or discriminate against any political party,religion or region.