a. Nobody is opposing giving Indian citizenship to those persecuted for their religion anywhere. India has always given such refuge for millennia and also since Independence. Objection is to selective provision of such refuge. Why are Muslims excluded or also Hindus from neighbouring nations like Sri Lanka and Myanmar – where religious persecution is rampant?
And even if it is really about helping Hindus – then why confine it to India’s neighbourhood. Why not give citizenship to those from Trinidad and Tobago, Malaysia or Fiji or even the United States also?
b. Exclusion of Muslims from CAB on grounds that they cannot be persecuted in a Muslim-majority country is both discriminatory and based on wrong facts. Apart from the well-known oppression of Ahmadiyas and Shia populations how can one forget that the Sunni Bengalis of East Pakistan were subject to genocide by the Sunni Punjabis of West Pakistan leading to the formation of Bangladesh? Muslims can indeed be persecuted in a Muslim-majority country just as millions of Hindus are being persecuted by upper caste Hindus on a daily basis in a country like India.
c. The combination of CAB with the proposed NRC exercise is aimed primarily at harassment of the Muslim population of India and turn them into second-class citizens.
d. However it is a fact also that equally large numbers of poor Hindus, Adivasis and others will face severe difficulties trying to prove their citizenship. A very large number of citizens from every religion will not be able to show papers required to prove they are Indians. And most of them cannot claim to be refugees from any neighbouring country either.
e. Most importantly, CAB and NRC cannot be a priority at all in a country that is struggling to provide jobs, food, safety to its citizens. The Modi-Shah regime’s idea of making a billion plus Indians stand in queues like during Notebandi three years ago is evil and foolish and will be resisted by the entire country.
Yes, we are all willing to stand in a queue but only if it is meant to bury the politics of hatred and religious discrimination being used to divide the Indian nation.