The Citizenship Amendment Bill has been finally passed by both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and will soon also be assented by the President as well. The Bill has been controversial from the time it was introduced and has been heavily protested by the states of North East India. What has led to such opposition to the Bill is its very nature.
The Bill seeks to grant citizenship to non Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan entering India after 31st December 2014. What’s baffling here is that there is no requirement of any proof or document for availing citizenship under this Bill.
After the NRC was introduced in Assam and after most of the Hindu Bengalis were not included in the register, the tabling of the Bill has becomes suspicious.
The CAB does not extend to all the tribal areas under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution and states with Inner Line Permit. The BJP by bringing in the CAB have also shown that their concern is mostly the vote bank from these illegal immigrants rather than the plea of protecting them from being persecuted in their own country.
Any sane person will realise that the other religions included in this list except for Hinduism, were included just for the sake of camouflaging the its communal intent so that it does not become controversial or arbitrary. The main aim of CAB is to give protection to the Hindus, while including other minor religions are thrown in just for effect.
The violent protests of the people across North East India feel on deaf ears. The violence that has gripped the region especially Assam has been ignored by the Centre.
The CAB is unconstitutional and will affect the people of North East India. The Government must think about the welfare of all citizens of the country. What is the use of an Act which protects a group of people while harming the others. We do not live in a country where the Constitution can be easily played with. We need to protect our people and our Constitution.
Reakor Shisha Kharkrang,
Close on the heels of passing the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha, the North East Students’ Union called for an 11-hour bandh which completely crippled the northeastern region. Though the North Eastern states had already conveyed their stand against the CAB, the Centre has moved forward and pushed through the CAB. The people in these regions are apprehensive of the controversial Bill and the Centre should have dispelled the fears first before enacting the same in the Parliament. Though many organizations and states have supported the Centre in favour of enacting the Bill, the North East Region or States have never supported this Bill as the people in these regions are afraid that it would upset and imbalance the regional indigenous communities. So a quick response in the form of bandh was forthcoming from these regions, which threw life out of gear.
Barely hours after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) was passed by the Lok Sabha, normal life was paralyzed in Assam’s Brahmaputra Valley where a dawn-to-dusk bandh was called by the powerful All Assam Students Union (AASU) on Tuesday. In Meghalaya a spree of arson and vandalism marked marked the anti-CAB protest particularly in capital Shillong with several vehicles including one belonging to police bearing the brunt. The shut-down in response to the bandh called by the North East Students’ Organization (NESO) was complete in the state.
The national capital and many other parts of the country on Tuesday witnessed protest demonstrations by political parties, student bodies and civil society groups over the contentious CAB. The NESO also staged a protest against the Bill at Jantar Mantar. People from various walks of life and across organizations joined the stir. The 11-hour bandh however failed to evoke much impact in the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley and the two autonomous hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao. In another dramatic development, the National Award winning filmmaker Jahnu Barua on Tuesday decided not to participate in the 8th Assam State Film Awards and Film Festival 2019 that is due to take place in Guwahati on December 26-27.
In Nagaland activists under the banner of Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) expressed solidarity with people in other North Eastern States protesting against the CAB by holding a sit-in protest near Raj Bhavan. While life in parts of North East came to a grinding halt due to the 11-hour bandh, an infant died on the way to hospital as anti-CAB protests in Assam turned violent on Tuesday leaving 20 injured. In Guwahati alone, six protesters were reportedly injured when the police resorted to lathi-charge and firing of teargas shells. In Manipur normal life was severely hit by the 11-hour North East bandh. All the business establishments, petrol pumps, hotels and banks downed their shutters during the bandh. In Tripura protesters took a dig at the chief minister on Tuesday and shouted slogans against him. A market, where shops were owned by non-tribals, was set on fire in Dhalai district. Life in Mizoram was also severely hit by the 11-hour bandh. Arunachal Pradesh also witnessed a complete shut-down in response to the bandh called by the (NESO)
So, in view of the stiff opposition from the people of the North Eastern region against the CAB, the Centre should have consulted these people and taken into considerations their grievances before implementing the CAB. Once the people’s grievances are addressed by the Centre, introduction of the Bill could have been tabled in both the houses of the Parliament. This would have been the better and wiser options for the Centre. After all, India is a democratic country and we all believe in finding solutions through constructive dialogues.
CAB – BJP’s game-plan
When the NDA Government said that they would implement NRC in Assam did anyone protest? No, because we all want the immigrants irrespective of their religion to be sent back to their home country. This is our land and we don’t want outsiders to come and settle here. But why there is so much chaos and ruckus over the CAB. The reason being that CAB is a Bill which will allow non- Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis to attain Indian citizenship even if they are immigrants.
CAB is coming before NRC because under NRC every outsider without any proper documents is an immigrant and under CAB all those outsiders who are non-Muslims can stay back in India and they will also get Indian citizenship. This means only Muslim immigrants will be thrown out of India. At the same time more and more non- Muslim immigrants, Hindus in particular will enter India especially from Bangladesh because Bangladesh has the third largest population of Hindus in the world after India and Nepal and they will easily get Indian Citizenship. Hindus who will get Indian Citizenship will be grateful to the BJP for this gift and therefore all their votes will go to the BJP. This is how BJP is planning to rule India for the next few decades.
But we won’t allow this. We won’t let Savarkar’s dream of Two Nation Theory to be enacted in India. We are secular and for us every human is equal. We will not discriminate anyone on the basis of religion and if a person whether Hindu or Muslim is an immigrant, he must leave India or some strict action must be taken against him. This is what we want. This is what the people of North East want. We must protect our Constitution.