Basically the citizenship rights in our country is secular which has been aptly provided for in the Indian Constitution.
Article 6 of the constitution speaks about the rights of citizens of certain persons who have migrated to India from Pakistan. There is no mentioning of the religious identity of the migrating person who wants to acquire the citizenship of India, which signifies the secular fabric of the Indian Polity.
The NDA government under the leadership of BJP has introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to bring modifications in the Citizenship Act, 1955. For the first time the religious identities of the illegal immigrants have been reckoned in order to grant Indian Citizenship to them. Besides the religious identities, discrimination has been shown by the exclusion of Muslim immigrants. The facilities have been extended to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Besides a clause of cancellation of registration meant for OCI card holders who violate any law of the country, in a generalised, way has been included.
The violation of laws may include both major offences like murder and minor offences like parking in a no-parking area or jumping a red light.
The Bill 2016 has been passed in Lok Sabha making use the majority strength available to the NDA but has been put at stake in Rajya Sabha by being referred to the Select Committee.
Under the guise of ‘humanitarianism’, the BJP headed government has instigated communal disharmony in treating the immigrants and according citizenship to them. The amendment bill is against the principle envisaged in Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees equal opportunities to all persons, citizens and foreigners, and differentiating between people on the grounds of religion would be in violation of the Constitution.
Assam has a major problem regarding infiltration of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. This proposed Bill does not consider Bangladeshi Hindus as illegal immigrants.
The Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar are not offered such hospitality. This is the intensity of contradictions in the Bill besides the discriminatory treatment meted to the illegal immigrants. At the latest, the alliance as well as the supporting political partners have started to withdraw from the BJP headed NDA over the Bill. Next to Meghalaya and Mizoram, in Nagaland the ruling partner in NDPP led People Democratic Alliance government has started to shoot down the Bill. The political partners have started to desert the sinking ship viz. BJP led NDA.
The constituents in the NDA alliance are not only alienating themselves to the Amendment Bill of BJP Government but have started to oppose it. Gradually the hold of BJP, which chest thumped in North Eastern States is coming down.
The provisions in the Amendment Bill clearly show the communal hatred shown by the RSS-BJP combine which is against the secular polity of India. Besides the religion based discrimination shown in the Bill will create a bad image for the country in the eyes of the progressive nations with secular functioning in their governance.
It is high time the BJP headed government withdraws the Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha in the interest of the communal harmony, even though the communal disharmony and communal dominance is the political capital of the saffron forces.