A mother points out to the Moon and tells her child, “Look at the Moon.” The child sees in the direction of the finger and sees the Moon. The finger which is pointing to the Moon is not the moon. The mother knows this and so does the child. But still, the finger is important to show the direction and the goal.
Something similar happens with the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). It is the finger. Just the presence of the finger is enough to make a lot of people uncomfortable and make them cry that “India is no longer a secular state” or that “Muslims will now live in fear”. Those who are crying hoarse opposing the CAB know that it is just the direction being taken now by Bharat. So, what is the Moon? Before we answer that, let’s take a look at the CAB.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill has said:
1. Persecuted people from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, from the religions originating from Bharat (Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist) and Parsis and Christians will eligible for citizenship in Bharat.
2. The Bill reduces the requirement of residence from 11 years to 6 years for these migrants/refugees.
There has been an uproar regarding the first point by:
1. People who are supporting this Bill, but are unhappy about the fact that only people of three countries have been included.
2. People who are supporting this Bill but are unhappy that Christians and Parsis have been included since these religions did not originate in Bharat.
3. People who are completely opposed to the Bill because it does not include persecuted Muslims or Muslims from Sects other than Sunnis.
To understand this one must look at Articles 8 and 9 of the Indian Constitution. Article 8 refers to 1935 as the cut-off date for deciding who the original citizens of India are—this refers to Undivided India i.e. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan). This is the reason why the CAB, 2019 also refers to the citizens of only these three countries.
Article 9 refers to the persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of any other country cease to be citizens of India from that date onwards. This logically means that India has no moral responsibility to the Muslims who decided to shift to Pakistan from India, because of the formation of a new Islamic country.
The Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians who are now in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan are there because they did not leave their land of origin. This was because it was promised that people who have the same ethnicity would not be persecuted and would be treated fairly with full rights, even if those countries transformed themselves into Islamic Nations. But today, these very nations are using Islam to deny these aborigines of their Rights and Privileges just because they do not follow Islam. A point to note is that most of the Hindus and Sikhs who were left behind belong to the so-called lowest castes. For those who are wondering why Christians and Parsis have been included, it is because of Article 14 of the Constitution which says that all are to be treated equally. The only reason why Muslims have been left out is because these Nations were carved out of Undivided India to fulfil the desire of Muslims to stay separately from a country which was a Hindu Majority Nation.
In June 1953, a Commission sat down to report on the disturbances in Punjab Province of Pakistan. That Commission was headed by the then Chief Justice Mohammad Munir and Malik Rustam Kayani and is famous as the Munir-Kayani Commission. It was formed after the Ahmaddiya disturbances in Punjab. The Commission took more than six months to submit the report and the conclusion was that NO TWO SECTS OF ISLAM AGREED EVEN ON THE BASIC DEFINITION OF WHO IS A MUSLIM AND ACCORDING TO EACH DEFINITION, ALL THE OTHER SECTS WERE KAFIR. From this we can conclude safely that any persecution to Muslims in Pakistan is because of Sectarian differences and NOT because of religious persecution similar to non-Muslims.
Bharat has a Civilisational Responsibility to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists from all parts of the world and as such should become the first refuge to any person suffering from religious persecution anywhere in the World. There is no doubt about this. But the Government has to start somewhere, and the CAB–2019 is that starting point. Slowly, it should develop towards providing refuge to religiously persecuted Hindus from anywhere around the globe.
Coming back to the story of the finger and the Moon, what is the Moon and why are people so agitated about Muslims not being included in the Bill? The Moon is the NRC or the National Register of Citizens. Those with an agenda know very well that if the CAB 2019 is passed, there would be no way they could agitate for the Rohingyas or the illegal migrants from Bangladesh. The fact of the matter is that the Rohingyas and the illegal Bangladeshi migrants have been encouraged to settle in India by Political parties with vested interests. It is a fact that political parties like the CPI, CPM, TMC, Congress, etc. have through the years supported these migrants with the sole agenda of changing the demography of all the North Eastern States, especially Assam and West Bengal. Recent overtures have been made to change the demography of Jammu, Kerala, Bengaluru and other places as well. It is well known that these people have surfaced regularly with fake Aadhar Cards, Voter Id and Ration Cards as well. The current BJP Government is committed to implementing the NRC by 2024 and weeding out the illegal migrants from outside our borders.
To incite the Muslims to oppose the CAB 2019, such agenda-driven people are pumping in false information that Muslims are being persecuted in India, or that the current BJP Government is being communal and are biased against Muslims. The truth is that CAB 2019 does not affect Indian Muslims in any way. In fact, even NRC has nothing to do with Indian Muslims who are genuine residents of this country. In 2016, the Government had stated that there are more than two crore illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India. The fact is that in a country where elections are won by margins of votes as less as 5,000 votes, 2 crore illegal immigrants with fake Voter Ids and Aadhar Card is enough to make any party come to power. This is the real reason why the entire Opposition is using the bogey of Islam to backstab our country.
It is time that the Muslims whose country Bharat is, stand up to be counted and say that they will not fall for agenda-driven nonsense peddled by the ‘secular Media’. They have to believe that the CAB 2019 and NRC are both for the benefit of the Nation and thus for them too. If today Imran Khan can criticise India for excluding Muslims out of the CAB-2019, they should ask why Muslims are being targeted in Pakistan so much that they want to leave their own country which they created in 1947, and come to take shelter in India, a Hindu Majority Nation.
(The writer is a Mumbai-based columnist)