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How Do We Move Forward?

Citizenship (Amendment) Act

The recently enacted Citizenship (Amendment) Act has generated a political churn in the country. Tagging the updating of the National Population Register, a base document to identify “citizens,” to the forthcoming 2021 population and housing census has raised strong objections from several corners, including some state governments, necessitating the home minister to make a statement in Parliament on 14 March 2020. Linking the census and theNPR raises many questions—technical and operational. It is important to go beyond politics to address these concerns.

 

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act(CAA), passed on 11 December 2019, amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 with the intent of providing an easier pathway for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians, coming to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Bangladesh before 2014 in acquiring citizenship. Political bigwigs have asserted several times that the act gives citizenship to these people and does not take it away from anyone. There is, therefore, no reason for any Indian citizen, particularly Muslims, to feel aggrieved since it does not touch them.

The critical issue is not of giving something or taking it away. The issue is of equality before law and of constitutional justice. A law providing different channels for seeking citizenship based on the religion and country of origin of a person is discriminatory. Any law subjecting people of one’s community to a harsher treatment than others, affects one and one’s identity. Also, it affects the image of the country.

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Updated On : 21st Mar, 2020

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