Several activists on Thursday staged a protest in New Delhi, criticizing Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and termed it as “communally motivated humanitarianism.” The Bill would grant citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Muslim majority countries, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
According to a report published by The Hindu, one of the protesters at the rally, Bonojit Hussein said, “This amendment makes plain the BJP’s communal agenda in Assam. It aims to consolidate the Hindu vote through this amendment.” he also said, “This would mean, for instance, that the sizable population of Hindu migrants from Bangladesh living in Assam would become citizens while Muslims who migrated to Assam from East Bengal a century ago would continue to be harassed as ‘illegal migrants from Bangladesh,” he said. He later added, “If this was truly a humanitarian move, why not offer citizenship to climate refugees? Or to atheists facing persecution? What’s special about only these six religious communities?”
Speaking at the protest, Kavita Krishnan said, “India is not like Israel, which is a Jewish state, offering the ‘right to return’ to Jews anywhere in the world. Since India is constitutionally secular, this amendment tries to bring Hindu Rashtra into the legal framework through the backdoor. By inviting Hindus specifically to come back to Indian citizenship, it is a ghar wapsi bill of sorts.”
As per the bill, the aggregate period of residence required in India to be eligible for Indian citizenship will also reduce from 11 years to six years.