By Dr. Javed Jamil
Amit Shah recently repeated the oft-repeated “jumla” that “CAA has nothing to do with the citizens of the country” and that “It is a law not for snatching but granting citizenship”. The truth however is that it definitely has to do with the citizens of the country because the effects of this will be emotionally and socially on the citizens of this country. It would have been better if Shah had added the following to his jumla: “If the citizen belongs to a community other than Muslim, he need not worry at all as his citizenship is guaranteed even if he is not originally Indian, but if he happens to be a Muslim, he will have to prove it beyond any doubt.”
Let us first discuss the humanitarian aspect of CAA.
First, if Hindus can support the award of citizenship to the Hindus and other minorities coming from the three “Islamic” countries, why should Muslims not feel concerned about the Muslims coming from the same countries? They too have the right to feel emotionally attached towards other human beings especially their religious fellows as have every other community. Religious, national, regional, lingual, cultural and ideological—all these are legitimate reasons for bonding. More than that, the humanitarian angle is paramount. This is why, not only Muslims but a large number of non-Muslims too are opposing the CAA, which is not only violative of India’s secular constitution and traditions but also humanitarian spirit.
Second, if Hindus and others are accepted because of the claimed religious persecution and their preferences for India, Muslims too have come due to one or the other kinds of distresses and preferring India over Pakistan They too are living here for long and it will be huge injustice to throw them out just because they are Muslims.
Third, why was the same principle not applied when Rohingyas sought refuge in India? It clearly shows the hatred in Hindutva lobby towards Muslims and this hatred is intolerable in this country loved and shared by all the communities.
After CAA, while no Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and Jain faces any threat whatsoever to their citizenship coming under cloud of suspicion, Muslims do not have that kind of surety. The poor and the migrant labourers will have great disadvantage. The officers can use dubious methods to threaten Muslims and extort money. There is every possibility that at least some may face eviction.
In short, CAA in itself is highly inhuman, against the spirit of the constitution and therefore absolutely unacceptable. The only right course of action will be to make it inclusive for all.