Letters

The citizenship door

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The Citizenship Amendment Bill and its gradual passage in Parliament is against the non-discriminatory norms and secular credentials of the Constitution. The hue and cry being raised by the political Opposition and some of us in different walks of life teaches us one thing (Editorial, “Unequal, unsecular”, December 10) We, the electorate, should never give any party such a massive electoral mandate as it makes them autocratic and arrogant in implementing their ideals, unmindful of the grave damage that is being caused to the nation. Now, citizens have to look to the judiciary as the only option to set things right.

Shalini Gerald,

Chennai

The Citizenship Amendment Bill would have been a good piece of legislation had it considered only the persecuted minorities of Pakistan and Bangladesh. We are indirectly responsible for their plight and cannot shy away from the responsibility of safeguarding them. But why should we grant citizenship to refugees from Afghanistan? They should be granted the same benefits enjoyed by refugees from other countries. Persecution of minorities is not a phenomenon that is prevalent only in Islamic countries, as the government is trying to establish. If we give special treatment to refugees from Afghanistan, then refugees from Sri Lanka and Myanmar too deserve the same consideration. At a time when we need to involve the Muslim community in preventing the radicalisation of its youth, alienating them will only aid India’s enemies. The Prime Minister recently emphasised the importance of communal harmony, unity and peace. Pieces of legislation such as CAB foster anything but that.

Neeraj Nandakumar,

Guruvayur, Kerala

Our inability and unwillingness to define secularism is the reason the notion it is about a mindless, unnuanced, and unqualified equivalence between the majority and the minority communities has established itself as a dominant political narrative. The anti-minority label has stuck with the BJP government so much that its intention to provide a sanctuary to persecuted minorities in three Muslim-majority countries has evoked widespread protest (Editorial, “Unequal, unsecular”, December 10). The inability to distinguish between a historical obligation to help the victims of Partition and humanitarian consideration to provide refuge to all persecuted communities reflects an attitude that seeks to cloister secularism to a narrow parity-at-any-cost paradigm.

Can anybody deny communities on whom the Citizenship ( Amendment ) Bill 2019 (CAB) seeks to confer citizenship have nowhere to go because of their cultural roots with India? Comparing their plight with the Ahmadiyas and Shias of Pakistan is a specious exercise to strip the CAB of its historical context. India has no stake in Islam’s schisms that are the basis for their persecution in Pakistan. Strictly, India cannot apply a liberal yardstick to the Burmese Rohingyas who have no emotional or cultural ties with India, notwithstanding the underlying humanitarian tragedy of their displacement. The charge of anti-Muslim bias against the CAB does not square up with the exclusion of Sri Lankan Tamils who seem better equipped to negotiate their rights with the government than the non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. The CAB does not prevent the government from providing citizenship to persecuted individuals on a case-to-case basis regardless of their religion.

V.N. Mukundarajan,

Thiruvananthapuram

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 10:36:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/the-citizenship-door/article30270158.ece

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