After the Parliament cleared the Indian Citizenship Amendment Bill, Opposition Party Leader Sonia Gandhi’ tweeted, “It’s a black day in Indian democracy”. Whether it will be, remains to be seen. However, it is a black day for any country’s secular constitution if the power is brutally construed upon the country’s innocent students who are exercising their right to protest.
Police Brutality on ‘Jamia Milia University’ Students
Police Brutality upon thousands of students of ‘Jamia Milia University’ in the Capital, New Delhi has brought to fore an ugly picture of the high handedness of Police Authorities.
The alleged use of excessive police to brutally ‘Lathi’ (stick) charge the University students who were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), has been condemned globally. This has given rise to more solidarity protests in universities of major cities of India. The students or citizens have every right to protest, though it’s crucial to control them if there is vandalism or violence. However, the Police need to maintain maximum restraint and try to engage the protestors, instead of losing control themselves.
The government gets a Blowback as Protests Erupt throughout the Nation
Most of the country’s universities and government officials from different organizations are now pouring in to join the demonstrations and protest against the Act throughout the country.
Some are holding midnight protests, while many have chosen to vandalize; some groups have resorted to hurling stones on the police trying to stop them, whereas many have opted for peaceful demonstration marches. People defied section 144(no more than four people in public) imposed in the cities. The impacted cities became devoid of the Internet. While every hook and corner of India is in unrest, the government is undeterred and firm on the Citizenship Amendment Act to be incorporated in the Law.
All that the government has done is to plead to people to maintain calm and peace. But is that enough to convince a population of 1.3 Billion, or even half of that? More importantly, what has triggered this enormous skepticism towards the Citizenship Amendment Act?
Due to which every section of the society has decided to confront this Act unapologetically.
Will CAA Jeopardize India’s Constitution & Demography?
The protests first erupted in the Northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya & Tripura. The North-Eastern states have a fear that the Citizenship Amendment will allow more migrants from Bangladesh to deluge in their territories. They consider it highly unfair as the swamping of their states will hamper their social, economic growth. With fixed resources for surplus people, the people will yearn for Jobs and property.
Assam is already sensitive to migrants as they suffered the impacts of the same from 1951 to 1971 when the state was flooded with migrants from Bangladesh. After that, the Assam Accord was signed to protect the integrity, cultural, and linguistic identity of the North Eastern States.
India is becoming a welcome refuge for communities
The Citizenship Amendment Act will grant citizenship to illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan & Bangladesh who came to India due to religious persecution in the previous country. The migrants should have come into India before the cut off date of December 31, 2014. Also, the Act will only apply to Hindus, Jains, Parsis, Christians, Sikhs, and Buddhists.
According to the original Indian Citizenship Act, people born in India acquire Citizenship. Others who have lived in the country for 11 years are granted citizenship. However, in the Citizenship Amendment, this tenure has been reduced to 6 years. So basically, any illegal migrants living in India for more than six years without any documents will now be eligible to acquire Indian citizenship, provided they belong to the religions mentioned above.
Citizenship Act divides the Country- Regarded as Unconstitutional
The relevance to religion and exclusion of Islamic faith from the Act has caused a nationwide stir. Opposition Parties, Students, and various other groups have raised questions on the Bill, citing it as anti-Muslim. Congress Party has said that with this Bill coming into law, the Government is strategically building a ‘Hindu’ nation and sidelining Muslims as second –class citizens. The Muslim minority in India is highly disappointed with this Act.
Overseas Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act
The CAB has also upset various Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders, as the Act also includes a clause allowing the government to cancel the OCI status of people found violating the citizenship Act. UN Human Rights have called the CAA ‘discriminatory’ and anti-Human Rights ideology. Even 2 US Panels have criticized the Act.