by Pannalal Surana
While showering venomous words on the opponents of CAA, our highly learned Prime Minister has been saying that they want to bestow citizenship rights on the unfortunate people who had suffered violence 74 years before. Having assumed the role of a person whose life mission is to undo the wrongs, perpetrated by the freedom-fighters and founding fathers of our Constitution, he says that the people who had to immigrate in India will be accorded citizenship only if the CAA is implemented. But one has to say that the learned PM has erred. That power has been bestowed on the authorities by THE CITIZENSHIP ACT, 1955.
Lately, honourable Smt Sumitra Mahajan, who had graced the chair of Speaker of Lok Sabha, following the footsteps of the PM, had said that all those unfortunate men and women would get citizenship only because of CAA. In reality, the Citizenship Act 1955 contains section 6 which says that “Where an application is made in the prescribed manner by any person of full age and capacity ( not being an illegal migrant ) for the grant of a certificate of naturalisation to him, the Central Government may, if satisfied that the applicant is qualified for naturalization … grant to him a certificate of naturalization.”
Under the Articles 5 to 11, it is provided that all those residing in the territory of Indian Union for 5 preceding years, except foreign nationals, and those born to Indian parents, or their descents staying overseas or those who are granted a certificate of naturalization. are the citizens of India. Under Art 11 the Parliament is empowered to enact laws about citizenship. And 1955 act provides that any person of full age and capacity can be given a certificate of naturalization.
For all those who had migrated from Pakistan after 1947, that is when the country was partitioned, should have been granted citizenship. And in fact, many must have done that. It must be noted that in 1955 act any person, which means no discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, gender, race, etc. was entitled to citizenship.
Narendra Modi and his army of neonationalists should have read our Constitution and 1955 Act carefully. If they sincerely wanted to grant citizenship to the legal migrants from Afganistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh, be they Hindus, Sikhs, Boudhs, Jains, Parsis, or Christians, they were empowered to do so by 1955 Act, there was no need to affect recent amendment to that Act.
The real objective of BJP rulers is not to care about Hindus etc. but to exclude Muslims, Jews, atheists, nomads or tribals. Narendra Modi and his ilk are saying that they are not going to take away citizenship from Muslims etc who are old residents of this country. But they are repeatedly saying that NRC will be done for the whole country. Everybody knows that the procedure, inherited from the British imperialists, requires so many documents as evidence of the fact that the applicant’s ancesters were Indian citizens.
All the Muslims nomadic people and tribals obviously do not possess those documents. As a result of that, they would be declared illegal migrants and would be put in detention camps. If the BJP people exhibit ignorance about this, they are not innocents but wicked hypocrites.
It is an encouraging spectacle that millions of students and other citizens are conducting peaceful protests against CAA. The struggle will have to be carried on until the Rulers declare that CAA will be put in cold storage.