CAB passage another body blow to counterfeit secularism

Bharat has been a sitting duck for the Citizen Amendment Bill, 2019, just passed by the Lok Sabha. Much like the long overdue deactivation of Article 370 in J&K and the landmark Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya, the decision to give citizenship rights to non-Muslim refugees like Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Christians facing persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan will be another body blow to the fake Nehruvian narrative which has done irreparable harm to the civilizational ethos of this ancient land.

Even if the Bill becomes an Act after sailing through the Rajya Sabha, its Constitutionality is almost certain to be challenged in the Supreme Court which will once again be expected to sift the grain from the chaff, and expose the deception of the secular argument in the national interest. The good thing is that the Nitish Kumar led Janata Dal (United), Shiv Sena, and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) voted with the ruling party in Lok Sabha. The JDU got over its initial fears of hurting the party’s Muslim vote bank. For the Sena, a vote against the CAB would have been suicidal, especially after its break with the BJP. As for the BJD, it had little or nothing to lose given the relatively negligible traction of the issue in Orissa.

Since much has already been spoken and written on the subject, mostly misguided nonsense, let us get to the heart of the matter: does the CAB violate Article 14 (Right to Equality) and Article 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex) of the Constitution or fly in the face of the Keshavananda Bharti judgement upholding the sanctity of its basic structure? While Articles 14 has a universality, Article 15 applies only to citizens, not illegal immigrants. Seen from a purely humanitarian standpoint, the religious argument is also flawed. Bharat is the natural home of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs just as much as Israel is the natural habitat of Jews.

What is conveniently ignored is that the CAB is not frontally about grant or denial of citizenship but a legislative tool to weed out illegal immigrants, mostly Bangladeshis, who have like parasites been feeding on the country’s economic resources. And, more importantly, allowed themselves to be used as willing vote banks by minority appeasing political parties like the Congress, Samajwadi Party, and the Trinamool Congress. This has resulted in a demographic topsy-turvy in sizeable pockets of states like Assam, Bengal, and Kerala where Hindus have been reduced to a minority at the mercy of radical elements.

Strategic thinking, as mentioned by the Hindu ideologue S Gurumurthy, is thus the only way to deal with the political and religious challenges of the neighbourhood. CAB is as fine a product of that strategic thinking as could have been conceived in the prevailing circumstances.

The population of Hindus in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) fell from 23 per cent in 1947 to 9 percent in 2011, that in Pakistan (formerly West Pakistan) from 15 to 1.6 percent. Behind the fall in numbers are innumerable stories of suppression, subjugation, discrimination, forced conversions, and migrations. Barring odd exceptions, you will be hard put to finding a single Hindu making it to the higher echelons of the Pakistani or Bangladeshi bureaucracy.

Now contrast this with Bharat where the Muslim population has increased significantly from 9.8 percent in 1951 to 14.23 percent in 2011, and constitutes by far the most vocal minority community in the country. Shrill voices from familiar quarters openly talk of allying with the nation’s enemies, both internal and external, and realizing the dream of Ghazwa-e-Hind. So the argument that CAB will shake the foundational principles of Bharat as espoused by pseudo secularists like Shashi Tharoor and the rest is pure poppycock.

No less laughable is the liberals’ new found love for Shias, Ahmadias, and the tormented Rohingyas of Myanmar who they contend should have been included in CAB’s list of the persecuted. They forget that Pakistan’s Quaid-e-Azam, Mohd. Ali Jinnah, was a Shia, and its first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was probably an Ahmadia as was Zafarullah Khan, his foreign minister. The latter, in fact, had a greater role in the formation of Pakistan than Jinnah.

But all this is immaterial. If sections of Muslims in another land are ill-treated by their co-religionists, it is no business of Bharat. Just as any incident of injustice meted out to Dalits by other Hindus cannot be Pakistan’s concern – Bharat anyway has a robust legal-political framework to deal with such incidents. These are baseless arguments trotted out by the liberal brigade since they know they are skating on thin ice.

CAB, to reiterate, is about casting out illegal immigrants, not revising our refugee policy whose criteria is separate. Should a bunch of suppressed Ahmadias or Shias from Pakistan wish to make Bharat their home, it is our refugee policy which will determine their eligibility. The challenge in the coming days will be to prevent opponents of the Bill from dovetailing the two to confuse the public and instill fear in the minds of minorities.

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About the Author

Sudhir Kumar Singh
Sudhir Kumar Singh is an independent journalist who has worked in senior editorial positions in the Times Of India, Asian Age, Pioneer, and the Statesman. Also a sometime stage and film actor who has worked with iconic directors like Satyajit Ray and Tapan Sinha. He writes regularly for the HinduPost as consulting editor.