Positive narrative on Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019

Date:

Vinod Bhat

Without curtailing the freedom and opportunity of Indian Muslims to enjoy their rights as they have been usually practicing and entertaining since Independence like other Indian citizens belonging to other religions, CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) 2019 has reduced the qualification period of application for citizenship from 11 to 5 years for the beneficiaries who had persecuted on religious grounds in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan and who had entered India on or before December 31, 2014 with an aim to show a generous treatment to them as compensation for appeasing their persecution.

What are the implications of the Act for Muslims who have been living in India?

Indian Muslims need not worry as CAA has not made any provision to impact their citizenship and has nothing to do with the present 18 crore Indian Muslims, who have equal rights like their Hindu counterparts. No Indian citizen would be asked to produce any document to prove his citizenship after this Act.

Is there any provision or agreement for repatriating illegal Muslim migrants to Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan?

India does not have any pact or agreement with any of these countries to repatriate migrants back to these countries. This Citizenship Act doesn’t deal with the deportation of illegal immigrants and therefore the concern of a Section of the people including Muslims and students that CAA is against Muslim Minorities is unjustifiable.

Who is illegal migrant?

Like Citizenship Act, 1955, this CAA defines illegal migrant as a foreigner who has entered India without valid documents.

What is the impact of this Act on the image of Islam?

Due to the persecution of Minorities in those three Muslim countries, the name of Islam was badly tarnished all around the world. However, Islam, being a peaceful religion, never preaches or suggests hatred/violence/any persecution on religious ground. This Act showing the compassion and compensation for the persecution, protects Islam from being tarnished in the name of persecution.

Is there any bar for Muslims from seeking Indian citizenship?

No. There is no bar on Muslims from anywhere in the world to seek Indian Citizenship under Section 6 of the Citizenship Act, which deals with the citizenship by naturalisation.

What is the need of the amendment?

To show the mercy on the persecuted minorities of those three countries, this Act gives opportunity to them as per the evergreen generous culture of India to get Indian Citizenship for their happy and prosperous future. To customise the Citizenship system and control the illegal migrants, there was need of this Act.

What are the previous initiatives of the Government?

In 2016, the Central Govt. also made minorities of those three countries eligible for long term Visa to stay in India.

Is there any restriction for Muslim migrants from any foreign country?

CAA does not cancel the naturalisation laws. Therefore, any person including the Muslim migrants from any foreign country, seeking to be an Indian citizen, can apply for the same under the existing laws. This Act does not prevent any Muslim, who is persecuted in those 3 Islamic countries for practicing their version of Islam, from applying for Indian citizenship under the existing laws.

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