Refugees are refugees for a reason. When people are persecuted in their countries they seek asylum elsewhere. When people want to leave a country and go elsewhere they wish to do so for a different standard of living, a different quality of life, a different future. This naturally needs proper procedure.
“As the M.S. St. Louis cruised off the coast of Miami in June 1939, its passengers could see the lights of the city glimmering. But the United States hadn’t been on the ship’s original itinerary, and its passengers didn’t have permission to disembark in Florida. As the more than 900 Jewish passengers looked longingly at the twinkling lights, they hoped against hope that they could land.
Those hopes would soon be dashed by immigration authorities, sending the ship back to Europe. And then, nearly a third of the passengers on the St. Louis were murdered.
Most of the ship’s 937 passengers were Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany. Though World War II had not yet begun, the groundwork for the Holocaust was already being laid in Germany, where Jewish people faced harassment, discrimination and political persecution. But though the danger faced by the passengers was clear, they were turned down by immigration authorities, first by Cuba, then the United States and Canada. For many on the St. Louis, that rejection was a death sentence.”
The problem I have with CAB is that it spells prejudice against one community and pertains to people from certain countries. It should democratically bestow the same allowance upon every one. How can a government discriminate giving citizenship on the basis of religion? I mean, if you give one person with the same concerns citizenship and deny another citizenship because of his religion, it something completely wrong.
And then we come to the fact of the National Register. If people are being denied citizenship based on one religion, in what dream world do people of the other religions believe that the register would not be used for any other purpose.
I am an atheist. My mother is a Parsi. My father was a Sikh. My grandmother was a refugee from Pakistan who married my grandfather from Kurukshetra. One of my paternal aunts married a Maharashtrian Brahmin. One of my paternal aunts married a Gujarati Brahmin. My paternal uncle married a Christian from America. My cousin sister is married to a Catholic. I have fallen in love with a South African, a Dane, a Sindhi and a Maharashtrian. I have had the strongest friendships with Christians and Muslims. I spent my childhood cultivating these relationships.
In so many ways this bill seems so terribly wrong. And let me tell you why:
1. The amendment discriminates on the basis of religion.
2. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called it “fundamentally discriminatory”, adding that while India’s “goal of protecting persecuted groups is welcome”, this should be done through a non-discriminatory “robust national asylum system”.
3. As mentioned earlier, isn’t it patently obvious that the bill would be used, along with the National Register of Citizens, to render 1.9 million Muslim immigrants stateless.
4. What about the exclusion of persecuted religious minorities from other regions such as Tibet, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
5. The Indian government says that Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are “Muslim-majority countries” where Islam has been declared as the official state religion through constitutional amendments in recent decades, and therefore Muslims in these Islamic countries are “unlikely to face religious persecution” and cannot be “treated as persecuted minorities”. But that’s nonsense: What about LGBT people in these countries who may want to immigrate under threat of persecution?
People who don’t see anything wrong with this don’t seem to understand the tenets of prejudice. It starts under the guise of wisdom but in between the lines of this wisdom there breeds a certain malice and Machiavellian schemes of dissension and coercion to violence.