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This is how 'discriminatory Act' CAA has shaken the very spirit of secularism!

This discriminatory act, which seeks to expedite citizenship of six religious minorities fleeing persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, does not extend the same protection to Muslims, hence, undermines country's commitment to equality before the law enshrined in India’s constitution, which prohibit discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious grounds.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 16 Dec 2019 12:45 PM GMT

This is how discriminatory Act CAA has shaken the very spirit of secularism!
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Lucknow: When the whole country is burning under the fire of Citizenship Amendment Act which recently got President Ram Nath Kovind's assent after getting a clear majority in both the houses of Parliament, many questions upon its accordance with Indian Constitution have made billions of people all around the world to raise their voice against it.

This newly formed act has won the title of a 'discriminatory law' and has not only attracted criticism from India only but also from United Nation, which called Indian government to rethink it.

Spokesperson for UN Human Rights chief, Michele Bachelet criticized it in the strongest words, “We are concerned that India’s new Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 is fundamentally discriminatory in nature”.

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This discriminatory act, which seeks to expedite citizenship of six religious minorities fleeing persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, does not extend the same protection to Muslims, hence, undermines country's commitment to equality before the law enshrined in India’s constitution, which prohibit discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious grounds.

For those who don't know about this bill now turned into an Act, the CAA tries to amend the definition of illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have lived in India without documentation till December 31, 2014 facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship and will be granted fast-track Indian citizenship in six years ( The standard eligibility requirement for naturalisation is for now is 12 years of residence in India.)

With lots of discrepancies and contradictions, the Centre tries to give logic to this Act saying it is to save those minority groups that have come escaping persecution in Muslim-majority nations. However, the bill does not protect all religious minorities, nor does it apply to all neighbor countries. For an instance, the Ahmedia Muslims and Shia sects face discrimination in Pakistan. Not only this, Rohingya Muslims and Hindus face persecution in Burma; Hindu and Christian Tamils in Sri Lanka. On asking what resort should Muslims seek, the government responds that Muslims can seek refuge in Islamic nations, but has not answered the other questions.

Blaming Congress for 1947 Partition on the basis of religion, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Bill would not have been necessary if the Congress did not agree to Partition on the basis of religion. But our leaders have long forgotten that India was not created on the basis of religion but Pakistan was. The two nation theory was perpetuated by Muslim League and the Hindu Right, demanding separate countries for Hindu and Muslim.

The fact that our ruling government seems to miss out here is that all the founders of India were committed to a secular state, where all citizens irrespective of religion were promised to breath in united India.

Interestingly, BJP's this logic for upholding Citizenship Amendment Bill also collapses because Afghanistan was not part of pre-Partition India.

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Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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