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CAB Not Based On Religious Intolerance, Has Nothing To Do With India’s Muslims

The Modi 2.0 goverment’s stunning series of legislative changes did not end with the commemoration of its six months in office last month. Following the amendments to Triple Talaq and Article 370, and the Supreme Court’s long awaited verdict on Ayodhya, the Citizenship Amendment Bill has stirred the same kind of response.

Almost on cue, left-liberal circles have reacted with apoplectic rage and a variety of accusations, including outlandish claims of the end of democracy. This last is odd, considering that the bill’s passage was possible due to a majority in Parlia­ment, elected on a manifesto committing to these changes. All these emotive reactions are rooted in a certain political calculus, albeit a failing one. Such accusations must be answered not with equal and opposite emotions, but rationally.

First, the allegation that the CAB is based on religious intolerance is not only wrong, but the facts are precisely the opposite. It has nothing to do with India’s Muslims, who are Indian citizens and enjoy the same constitutional rights as every other citizen.

Instead, CAB is about religious minorities facing persecution in three theistic neighbouring countries. Almost all of them are populations that were part of pre-independence India, now stranded in nations that had falsely promised them protection. That they face persecution in those nations is not in doubt, with reports of forced conversions and marriages, kidnappings, and killings. Indeed, looking at the drastic fall in their share of population in these countries since 1947, they are facing extinction.

Next, the CAB does not prevent Muslims from seeking Indian citizenship, it only recognises the dire straits of minorities in these states and makes a special provision for their rehabilitation.

Backers of the political groups opposing CAB used ‘secularism’ to violate its very fundamentals and divide people.

But what about Ahmadiyas, some argue, or Shias, or the Baloch, or Rohingyas, or minorities from other neighbours? While these people may face danger, there is a rational coherence to their not being included. They are either not in a theistic state whose constitution fundamentally discriminates against them, or they are sub-sects of the official state religion (or transiting en route to India), or their struggle is political rather than religious.

Opinion | Citizenship Amendment Bill: A Noose Around Necks Of Muslims

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