India’s Citizenship Bill: Ray of hope for communities persecuted in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan

HIGHLIGHTS

The Citizenship Bill gives hope and a chance to all those people who want to live a better and more respectful life. Narendra Modi said, ‘We have a responsibility toward Hindus who are harassed and suffer in other countries, India is the only place for them’

The world saw the creation of the world’s largest democracy in 1947. This year will always be remembered in human history as the time when a nation fought for centuries to finally come out of the clutches of foreign invaders.

The invaders tried to destroy the world’s oldest civilization. To me, that invasion was not only for grabbing land and property but was a religious invasion. The intruders, for many centuries, tried to kill and destroy the ancient Hindu civilization, which gave the world an example of true knowledge and peace.

India a natural home 

Bharat, which had its boundaries from Afghanistan to Myanmar, was by far the most developed and prosperous civilization. There had been efforts of invasion on India since 711 CE. The country had been continuously fighting to uphold its identity as a Hindu civilization. Since then and for the next 1,000 years, it was continuously at the receiving end of brutal invasions from Muslim invaders, who not only invaded our land but also invaded our religion. The process continued with the British invasions and finally, we were able to get our freedom back, but after paying a hefty price.

The invaders always tried to capture our belief system and they were successful in capturing the minds of a large section of the population which resulted in the birth of Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The invasion was so deep that till date, some individuals return their awards to dilute the thought of India being the land of Hindus. When I say so, it is also an established fact that Hinduism has been the most tolerant and peace-loving religion, and hence all religions are respected in Hinduism and Hindus live in peace with believers of other faiths.

The birth of Pakistan was solely based on religion and the world knows that where Pakistan is today due to such a policy. The birth of Pakistan gave an irrevocable pain to India which still haunts us due to a few petty policies of the then rulers. The birth of Pakistan and East Pakistan also gave the world its worst riots and one of worst religious genocide which expands till 1971 in form of Bangladesh’s independence struggle.

As per the 1951 census, Pakistan had 16% Hindu population while East Pakistan (Bangladesh) constituted of 4.05% Hindus. Now, there is a mere 4% Hindus left in Pakistan. As per the Pakistan Hindu Council website, the main reason for a large section of the population to convert to Islam is inter-religious violence, which has forced most of the Hindus and other minorities to convert to Islam.

Karachi once had 51% of Hindu population and now it’s just 2%. A report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom puts Pakistan in the list of countries where there is a concern over religious freedom. According to a report by the Movement of Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan, around 1,000 girls who are minorities, are forcefully married – among which approximately 700 are Christians and 300 are Hindus. This is just the tip of the iceberg about the lives of minorities in Pakistan.

Politics of appeasement and vote bank

The disease of appeasement which hailed from the British transcended into the Congress and CPM regime as well. The British government, which was shaken and defeated by the Bengali revolutionaries, tried to unsettle the Bengali Hindus by the Government of India Act, 1919, by giving unjustified Muslim reservation in Bengal legislation – a move to dividing Muslims and make them anti-Hindu so that the freedom struggle could be weakened.

Similarly, the state governments and the central governments headed by Congress have maintained a porous border, enabling illegal migrants to pass into Indian borders and hence the unrealistic demographic changes in Assam, Bengal and bordering states are not too surprising.

Hiranya Bhattacharya in his book Operation Lebensraum states that there is a larger conspiracy conceived by the ISI and radical Islamic groups who still want India to become an Islamic country. He mentions that this is calculated conspiracy and is well-thought-of, regarding the demographic changes which can be bought by illegal Muslim infiltrations through Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura. Stating Dr Mohit Roy, Bhattacharya mentions that the number of Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh in India is about 4% of the total population.

These figures are not new and the Congress was always aware of it, however, they deliberately turned a blind eye upon it purely of appeasement and vote bank politics. The stand of the Congress is not unknown in the case of the Rohingyas. The opposition of various parties against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is a matter of concern, whereas these same parties have a different view when it comes to illegal Rohingyas.

Citizenship Bill need of the hour

A BBC report published on the migrants who came to India and are living in Delhi in camps quotes Bhagwan Das, who was among a group of 71 people who reached Delhi three weeks ago. He has two grown children with no formal education. He says they were treated like “second-class citizens” in Pakistan. “Our children don’t feel welcome in schools there. The Muslims taunt us for being Hindu. Our girls are also sexually harassed,” he said.

The people in the camps requested the then government for citizenship in 2011 and due to appeasement politics, nothing happened. It was a herculean task and took a certain Narendra Modi to finally listen to them. This Bill not only gives solace and a chance to lead a better life in the world’s largest democracy to Hindus, but to all those minorities who are leading a fearful life in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The Citizenship Bill give equal rights of citizenship to Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Hindus who are minorities in the neighbouring countries.

The two basic points of the Bill enables legal migrants to have a proper process and hence empowers people from minorities to feel safe and apply for Indian citizenship lawfully.

This law equally treats the offenders and the wilful defaulters of the law. India in the past has given long-term visas to Muslims as well, which supports the NDA government’s commitment for free and fair consideration of giving everyone the right to stay in India.

Citizenship by naturalisation

The 1955 Act allows a person to apply for citizenship by naturalisation if he meets certain qualifications. One of these is that the person must have resided in India or served the central government for a certain period of time: (i) for the 12 months immediately preceding the application for citizenship, and (ii) for 11 of the 14 years preceding the 12-month period.  For people belonging to the same six religions and three countries, the Bill relaxes the 11-year requirement to six years.

Cancellation of registration of Overseas Citizen of India cardholder

The 1955 Act provides that the central government may cancel the registration of OCIs on certain grounds, including: (i) if the OCI had registered through fraud, or (ii) if, within five years of registration, the OCI was sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more. The Bill adds one more ground for cancelling the registration, that is if the OCI has violated any law in the country.

Conclusion

India is rightly the homeland of people who were originally part of the great Indian civilization. It is India’s moral responsibility to think and take care of minorities who are ill-treated on the basis of religion in neighbouring countries. The “akhand Bharat” which was divided by the British and Jinnah, still remains the land of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Buddhist by default. All these religions were founded on this great land and correlate themselves to the great thought of Hinduism, making India their natural land of the living.

Narendra Modi said, “We have a responsibility toward Hindus who are harassed and suffer in other countries, India is the only place for them.”

The Citizenship Bill gives hope and a chance to all those people in need to live a better and respectful life which our great country provides to multiple religions. India has a natural appetite to respect every religion and hence Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, etc., live in a free environment. It’s the responsibility of the country whose natural citizens chose to stay for various reasons in neighbouring countries but found it to be the wrong place for minorities, to allow them back to their natural land.

Thus, the Citizenship Bill is paying respect to the basic essence of India.

Courtesy – mynation.com