The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019. which states that members of the Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian religion who had fled from– Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh till December 31, 2014– facing any religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants, but given Indian citizenship; except the people who belong to the Muslim community.
The Laws earlier relating to citizenship, passport and identification of foreigners did not allow an illegal migrant to acquire Indian citizenship. Excluding Muslim immigrants from the purview of the amended Citizenship Act, 2019 has led many Opposition parties, activists, Muslim groups, colleges, and universities to accuse the NAMO Government 2.0 version of doing religion-based politics. The students of Jamia Milia Islamia started peace protest against the recently passed Citizenship Act and declared the Act as discriminatory and divisive in nature.
The Muslim immigrants, cannot claim the same right under the amended Citizenship Act as just because they belong to the Muslim community. This has left many Muslim filled with anger, and they are saying if CAA, Why not for everyone? The government, however, defended the amendment of Citizenship Act on the ground that a Muslim immigrant from these three countries that are Islamic republics; where Muslims are already in the majority there, and hence they cannot be treated as persecuted minorities.
The Muslim illegal immigrants, thus, left out of the NRC have the right to appeal before appropriate authorities based on Citizenship Act 1955, and as well the fundamentals of Indian constitution.
Non-citizens from among the Muslims will still have the option of applying for citizenship through regular registration and naturalization processes as mentioned in the Citizenship Act 1955, but the new bill discriminated them based on religion.
The Act spreads the fear among Muslim community leaders saying that following a nationwide NRC, a large number of Muslims will be declared non-citizens. It is being claimed that the CAA was brought to accommodate persons of other communities to give Indian citizenship; but not the Muslims, if they failed to prove that they were bonafide citizens of India, and still, the question remains same, why not Muslims?
Union Minister Amit Shah said Indian Muslims need not fear from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, but Muslims in Uttar Pradesh — where they are only 18% of the population, according to the 2011 Census — are worried.
Muslims are angry with the law because they somehow feel and think that the Act is discriminatory and they will be eventually be singled out as illegal immigrants based on their religion and soon will be called to leave the country because of such amendment like this. Their growing feeling that Muslims are getting step-motherly treatment from the powers is making things worse. They put forward the question like When the Constitution promises equality and no discrimination based on religion, why do we have this Act? Why make us feel that we are not the same as others? And why now?