Muslim mob pelting stones on the police during a violent protest against Citizenship Amendment
Act in New Delhi
“The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity.” - Dr BR Ambedkar, Pakistan or the Partition of India
Following the passing of contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (now Citizenship Amendment Act – CAA) by the parliament with overwhelming majority, there have been massive protests in North East (NE) and many other parts of the nation. Primarily, it needs to be understood that the protest movements both in NE and mainland India are diverse on its demand and character. In NE the movement is to scrap the entire act, while in the rest of India the protest is against the exclusion of Muslims from the list of beneficiaries of the citizenship amendment. There has been multiple video footages emerging from West Bengal, Assam and Delhi of unruly mobs damaging public property, raising provocative slogans and attacking security personals. A section of media has already begun the process of glorifying students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI Delhi) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), where protests against CAA took violent turn.
The major accusation of the Islamists and left liberals is that the act violates basic feature of Indian constitution – ‘Secularism’, since religion is used as a criterion for granting citizenship. So the question is it right to give citizenship to the minorities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh? The partition of India which happened in 1947 saw displacement of millions of people from India to Pakistan and vice versa. Even when the whole exercise of partition was happening the leaders of both the nations gave assurance that they will take care of their own minorities.
A formal agreement was signed between Pandit Nehru and Liaqat Ali Khan, called the Delhi pact in 1950 reiterated the commitment of both the new nations to protect their minorities (Pakistan includes both East and West Pakistans). However, minorities were ensured all constitutional safeguards in India, but the Islamic Republic of Pakistan failed to keep its word and Hindus were oppressed from the very beginning and it continues even today. Many of the Hindus migrated from East Pakistan (Bangladesh) during the liberation war of 1971 due to religious persecution settled in West Bengal and Assam. Afganistan also had a substantial population of Hindus. Following the invasion of Soviet Union and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism as a counter to Russia resulted in Hindus and Sikhs fleeing the country. Their fear was proved to be genuine when the large statues of Buddha in Bamiyan Valley were demolished by Taliban using dynamite. In short it can be argued with facts that Hindus (including other minorities) are unsafe in Islamic nations like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Now the basic question is where will persecuted Hindus and other minorities go for a safe shelter? Those who advocate for the inclusion of Muslims in the purview of CAA fail to understand that Muslims are not persecuted on religious basis in Islamic countries (keeping in mind the condition of Shias and Ahmadiyas, it is an Inter-Islamic conflict and India has no obligation towards it). Home Minister Amit Shah had made it clear in Indian parliament that the new Citizenship doesn’t affect India’s existing citizens and is for those refugees who came from India’s Islamic neighbours. So, why protests are happening against CAA? You can’t complain if an accusation is made that this is essentially a product of universal Islamic brotherhood. Since AMU and JMI are categorised as ‘Minority Institutions’ special reservations are given to the Muslim community and are hence heavily populated with students from Muslim community. Buses were burnt outside the JMI and students were seen hurling stones at the police. Some of the apologists of this violent protest even circulated fake videos and claimed that the buses were burnt by Delhi police. The excuse for participating in the protest is that they have concerns about human rights and it cannot be believed since none of these student organisations or university student unions ever showed their solidarity towards persecuted Hindus in Pakistan or even during the height of Islamic terrorism in Kashmir when Pandits were thrown out of valley. The complete ignorance the left liberals and Islamists have for the pathetic condition of Hindus and other minorities in the Islamic nations are now out in public domain. Students of these universities were seen fighting with the cops and when the security personnel use force the students play victim card and as usual channels fighting for TRPs will make it a newsbreak.
Frustration of Islamists after sequence of events that generate nationalist waves is understandable. It involves abrogation of Article 370, Supreme Court verdict on Ram Mandir, CAA, nationwide NRC and proposed Uniform Civil Code. But the students of these reputed universities using religion to shield illegal immigrants cannot be justified. The proposed nationwide NRC will be helpful to flush out Rohingyas from India. It needs to be noted that even the Prime Minister of Bangladesh called Rohingyas a security threat to the region. Hence a call to give citizenship for Rohingyas cannot be accepted. It is high time that the security is tightened in these universities and any form of violence be dealt with severe repercussion. Citizenship Amendment Act provides justice for the persecuted minorities of the neighbouring Islamic Republics and hence should be accepted by the general public keeping in mind that India is the natural home for Hindus.
(The writer is a Masters student at Hyderabad Central University)