Stop the Citizenship Amendment Bill
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I’m Pranav Vachharajani, I am an Indian, a patriot & a strong believer in the virtues & laws of our land. I am therefore strongly against the divisive & unconstitutional Citizenship Amendment Bill brought in by the BJP govt & I am requesting you to join my petition to urge the President of India to stop this bill from being passed.
I work extremely closely with people and organizations in the North Eastern states of India. As you may be aware the recently concluded NRC (National Register of Citizens) exercise in the state of Assam has wreaked havoc on the lives of as many as 19 lakh people who have been rendered stateless. These are Indians who have served the nation, who have lived their entire lives in our beautiful country & today they are being told they no longer belong here, they no longer belong anywhere. While this exercise was haunting enough, now the government wants to unleash an even more torturous process on the Indian people.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to change our citizenship laws but more importantly it signifies a radical & shattering change to the secular fabric of our nation.
What does the Bill aim to do:
The bill aims to provide citizenship status to refugees without documents that cite religious persecution from countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, & Afghanistan.
What’s the problem?:
The problems are vast but are largely categorised within three sections:
Unconstitutional - It violates both Article 14 & 15 of the Constitution that guarantee equality before the law & protection from discrimination on religious grounds to all people in the Indian territory. CAB identifies those eligible for citizenship as members of ‘certain’ persecuted religions from three countries. It openly states that if you are either, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Parsi or Sikh from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan, you may be granted citizenship. It blatantly discriminates against Muslims & other minority communities, for instance Tamil Hindus & Christians from Sri Lanka or Rohingya Muslims & Hindus from Myanmar.
The bill seeks to protect persecuted minorities but reduces citizenship to a religious test - it fails the very principle it is based on & contradicts its own stated objective.
This bill changes the idea of India & our social fabric. From time immemorial, India has been a nation that prides itself on its diversity but also on its willingness to provide shelter to asylum seekers from all religions & regions, without discrimination. This bill will change that forever.
Stress on Resources - Both the State & the individual will have to suffer a significant stress on resources. The CAB bill will require individuals to prove they were once refugees, fleeing religious persecution from either Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan. These may be the same individuals who were left out of the NRC list. These individuals - who did not have the correct documentation to prove they are Indian - will now be required to find the right documentation to prove they are from somewhere entirely different.
It will also mean that the Indian State will be required to grant citizenship & therefore the benefits that go along with it to numerous illegal immigrants. The bill is in sharp contrast to the Assam Accord which ensured that all illegal immigrants entering India after 1971 will be deported REGARDLESS OF RELIGION.
Global Reputation: This bill will severely damage India’s reputation on the global stage. India has always been known & respected as a secular, diverse & unified democracy, today because of the blatant discrimination & bigotry in the CAB, India will lose that prestigious title.
Most importantly it shows the world that India has lost its way & is no longer a member of the global, tolerant community.
It is for these reasons that I urge you all to sign my petition & urge the Honourable President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind ji to stop this bill from being passed. Let us show these divisive leaders that India is strongest when it stands together & we will not allow them to tear our country apart.
Save Constitution. Save India.
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