The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which eases Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who left Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and entered India before 2015, has been passed in both the houses of the parliament. After assent from the President the bill would help lakhs of non-Muslim refugees get Indian citizenship, even if they do not have any document to prove their residency. The Opposition has been criticising the government for excluding Muslim minorities from Nepal and Hindu minorities from Sri Lanka.
The issue has been communalised and reduced to a Hindu vs Muslim debate by politicians and presstitutes but no one is asking why India, with a population of over 1.3 billion and a GDP per capita of mere $2000, is easing norms for illegal immigrants.
1. India's GDP growth for the quarter ending September 2019 fell to 4.5%, which is the country’s slowest economic growth rate in six and a half years.
2. As per World Bank data, India’s per capita GDP is half of Sri Lanka, Indonesia and less than a third of African nations like Suriname, Namibia and Gabon.
3. With 5.2 million foreign-born people, India ranks 12th in the list of countries with immigrants.
4. As per the 2011 census of India, Hindu population percentage has dropped from 83.45 to 79.80 during 1951 while Muslims population percentage has gone up from 9.8% (post partition) to 14.23%. Other religions have maintained the same percentage.
5. The argument Union Minister Amit Shah made in Lok Sabha was that Pakistan’s non-Muslim population dropped from 23% post-partition to 3.7%. However, his claims are faulty because West Pakistan during 1951 census had 3.44% non-Muslim population which is still very much the same. But East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, saw a major drop in Hindu population from 23% in 1951 to 8% in 2011.
6. Talking Afghanistan, there were just 700 Sikhs and Hindus left in the country as of 2018, according to a report for the US State Department.
7. As per the 2001 Census, Bangladeshis form the largest group of migrants in India followed by Pakistanis. Over 3 crore people in India have come from Bangladesh. The welcoming approach towards such refugees from the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC govt in West Bengal has also been criticised as a move to gain Muslim votes by registering them as Indian citizens.
8. In Assam, 19 lakh people were left out from the final list of NRC, for which over 3.3 crore people applied. These 19 lakh now to prove they are Indian citizens in court else they would be treated as refugees.
The Rohingyas from Myanmar are excluded from the Bill despite their persecution in their home country and Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus are also left out, probably because they don’t speak Hindi, as Congress MP Shashi Tharoor pointed out.
So what remains to be debated is why is the BJP government hell bent on the welfare of non-Muslim minorities from select countries with India’s own GDP in tatters or is the move plainly targeted to increase their Hindi-speaking vote bank in the North? Is Modi's India becoming Hindustan or the idea of Bharat still remains intact? And most importantly, if it's indeed for a long-time vote bank, is it justifiable at the cost of national security?
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