All You Need To Know About The CAA and NRC




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There has been a lot of murmurs and uncertainties about what CAA and NRC exactly means. Whether both are linked, what its motives are, why citizens have come to the streets to protest against it, why there is an air of turmoil all around etcetera and the doubts go on endless. This article tries to define what CAA and NRC are, clear all the ambiguities and it is expected to give a clear-cut idea of what the bills serve for. BJP government has released several acts like demonetisation, repeal of Article 37 and certain others that have always provided the scope of debate. Now they are out with the new CAA and NRC.


What is CAA?

Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed by the parliament on December 12, 2019. Of all the bombshells, this one carries the most controversial face and present the situation verifies it. According to the act, Parsis, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan would be granted citizenship in the next six years to the exclusion of Muslims. This is clearly an indiscrimination against Muslims. It is claimed that only these six religions have faced persecution in the three above mentioned Islamic Countries, therefore it is obligatory for the Indian government to extend a helping hand for them. Since Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are Islamic Countries, it could naturally be their homes. This could be the logic behind excluding them.

Again, we see a paradox. BJP ascertains the act applies only to persecuted people but CAA does not talk about persecution at all. If at all, the act is for persecuted ones, why are Rohingyas, or Srilankans who also happens to be our neighbours excluded? A bit of logic tells that the Act is also viewed as a clever idea to build the Hindu Republic violating the norms of the Indian Constitution. There could be a great influx of Hindus benefitting the BJP government to enlarge their vote banks. The legislation applies to all those who were forced to seek refuge in India on the grounds of religion before December 31, 2014. This side-lines Muslim minority and establishes them as second class citizens. It is also found that it violates Article 14 (the fundamental right to equality) of the constitution. CAA allegedly violates the secular identity of the country and also thwarts the linguistic identity and cultural heritage.


What is NRC?

National Register of Citizen (NRC) is a count of legal citizens. In 2003, the rules for nationwide NRC has been proposed by the Union home ministry. Any document proving your date of birth and place of birth would suffice for the requirements. But Aadhar cards and passports have already been excluded saying that they are not the documents proving citizenship. Illiterate persons who do not own any kind of documents may be asked to bring a witness to prove their citizenship. The government has assured that no Indians should fear for being kicked out of their homeland and no legal citizens of Indian would be put into trouble.

A credible NRC will not exclude Muslims as there is no provision regarding it on the guidelines. As per the Citizenship Amendment Act of 1955 amended in 1986, anyone born in India up to July 1, 1987, is an Indian Citizen. For those who are born after, any one of their parents must be an Indian Citizen and the other must not be an illegal immigrant.


Why is this not applicable to Assam?

The 1951 NRC found out that almost 1.5 million people residing in Assam are illegal immigrants. That is why they have been asked to present their documents. As the Assam accord accepted any illegal migrant entering the state before March 25, 1971, as a legal citizen, documents of people whose names appear in the voter’s list between 1951 and 1971 is deemed as Indian (indiatoday.in).


Who has been the worst hit?

Among all, Assam has been the worst hit because primarily because of the fear of the influx of Hindu migrants from Bangladesh thereby effecting an alteration in their cultural heritage. The protests and violent crackdowns came across as bombshells. Soon the protests spread across the whole country with student protesters in the forefront. Assam does not wish to invite anyone be it a Hindu or a non- Hindu to their state.


How has the BJP government responded to the nationwide protests?


It seems the nationwide protests have not been taken seriously by the government so far. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have been spitting out the reasons for and advantages of their decisions. They are trying their best to quell all the opposition but have not had the nerve to communicate with the masses or make any negotiations with them. It had always been a one-way communication from the government's side. After all, selfish motives need not be communicated or negotiated given that it serves to accentuate their party's benefit. The Jharkhand election results prove the citizens' hostility towards the ruling party.

Citizens have buckled up their shoes to eliminate the lunatics the same way BJP tries to evade minority groups. People elect the leaders harbouring hopes and the leaders are expected to represent them. Leaders must comply with the citizen's opinions. In the view of Indians from school goers to senior citizens, what India sees now is a kind of authoritarian rule wherein certain sections of the society does not have a say and their existence in their homeland is put to scrutiny. Had not been the case, they would have gotten ready for a peaceful discussion with the people and sort out the commotion so that the violent blasts could have been avoided.

Interestingly, even the members of the parliament have not a clear idea of their decisions. While Amit Shah declares that his government will soon look forward to implementing a nationwide NRC, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 22 announced that his government has not yet talked about NRC at all. So, again the air of suspicion persists.


- Written by Maryam Salim



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All You Need To Know About The CAA and NRC All You Need To Know About The CAA and NRC Reviewed by EMN on December 27, 2019 Rating: 5

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