Sydney, 12 December 2020
Indian community in Sydney organized a gathering (rally) on Sunday, 12 January 2020 in support of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019. More than 200 people attended the gathering.
What’s CAA and why it’s a good law?
CAA is a noble move by India because it helps religiously persecuted people from minority religions in Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan. At the time of partition of India, minorities were reassured by Pakistan’s founder and leaders that they would have equality and not face persecution or discrimination, stating that religion is a private matter, with no involvement or interference from the State in religious matters. Unfortunately, this has not turned out to be true. Based on copious media reports, religious persecution of minorities is rampant in these nations and the numbers of minorities have decreased drastically as of now compared to 1947. In contrast, population of minorities in India has increased significantly since 1947. Some of these religiously persecuted people have fled to India as refugees and have been living there in limbo. By offering them citizenship, India has given them a right to live with dignity. They don’t have to face despicable and constant threats of physical violence, forced conversion, abduction of their minor daughters and their forced marriages to abductors. The argument of some, asking for the inclusion of the predominant religion of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in CAA is not sensible or logical as it’s unlikely for the people from the predominant religion to suffer persecution on religious basis in those nations. Quoting article 14 of the Constitution is not valid because Indian Constitution does permit affirmative action, as is evidenced by reservation in jobs etc for SC/STs communities and special provisions in Harijan Act, which would ordinarily be violative of equality concept under article 14. While Govt of India has taken a laudable and noble step, I am dismayed with blatant politics and misinformation, orchestrated by opposition political parties and some religious leaders, leading to violent protests, destruction of public & private properties and loss of lives in some cities of India, when it’s clear that CAA doesn’t affect any Indian citizen and it doesn’t take away citizenship of any current Indian citizen. I am disappointed that the opposition, particularly the Congress party, is playing a sinister and dangerous game in opposing CAA when its former leader, Dr Manmohan Singh himself demanded CAA type law to help Pakistan and Bangladesh’s persecuted minorities in Rajya Sabha during the rule under Mr AB Bajpayee and when the steps for record keeping of Indian citizens (Aadhar, NPR & NRC) was proposed and partially implemented by the Congress party-led Govt.
CAA doesn’t cover political and sectarian discrimination but people from other categories can still apply for Indian citizenship under different provisions of the relevant law. Adnan Sami (singer from Pakistan) getting Indian citizenship is a good example in this regard.
Protests, especially rioting and violence, are irrational, unjustified and politically motivated. I agree with the recovery notices issued against the rioters to recover the loss of property.
In regards to NPR/NRC, these are instruments which India, like any other nation, must have to know about its citizens and people living within its territory, and for effective governance. Opposition to NPR/NRC is short-sighted and is a mechanism employed by the opposition to keep and use illegal migrants as their vote banks. Sane, sensible, intelligent and “silent” majority of Indians must tell the opposition parties to support India’s interests and not blindly oppose good policies from the Govt. Indians, irrespective of their religions, and Indian political parties must behave with maturity. The same is required from Indian media, which should inform the public with facts, instead of being part of fake news. It’s known that the most of the international media are left-leaning and generally keep their eyes shut in regards to the plight of minorities of these countries. This is morally reprehensible and must be called out. Propaganda against India will need to be countered, using social media. Helping persecuted people is a good and morally correct action. It will enhance the image of India, if misinformation is countered with facts. CAA will throw spotlight on undeniable religious persecution and the sad plight of minorities in India’s neighborhood. What Indian govt and it’s diplomats as well as India-loving people must do is to effectively counter the propaganda, misinformation and fake narratives by anti-India forces and left-leaning media within India and overseas. The true picture of the plight of minorities in India’s neighborhoodneeds to be seen by the world.
Dr Yadu Singh