CAA is an artificial division between communities: analysis
It would be interesting, if not edifying, to know if Governor Arif Mohammad Khan learned his story from the leader of the Bharatiya Janata party, Amit Shah, or vice versa. In any case, their commitment to what they believe Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru said about opening our hearts and doors to the Hindus and Sikhs of Pakistan is moving. It would have been wonderful if they followed Mahatma and Nehru on other issues, such as compassion and secularism. Be that as it may, it would seem that neither look at history as it should be done, a study of the facts and the interpretation of those to better understand our past. But, I must say that since Khan pronounces his pronouncements with the flourish of fencing, it is more pleasant to respond to his “touch.”
In recent weeks, we have been repeatedly told that it was Gandhi’s desire and Nehru’s commitment that Hindus and migrant Sikhs receive citizenship and work. To make things clear, the Partition assumed that people would choose to stay or migrate across the newly drawn borders. But obviously, many Muslims, although certainly far from everyone, were expected to cross into Pakistan as most Hindus were expected to cross into India.
Long partition by Vazira Zamindar tells us that in Sindh, the constant departure of Hindus was seen as sad, even when it was thought that the flow of Muslims coming from India was not desired. The great vision of a Muslim homeland staggered in the waves of muhajirs (Muslim immigrants) entering Pakistan. Finally, the crossings at Khokhropar in Sindh were closed because no more migrants could be accommodated. In India, there was a problem dealing with Muslims who returned after initially emigrating to Pakistan (95,000 registered after the Jawaharlal Nehru-Liaquat Ali Khan pact), as well as Hindus and Sikhs who made the late decision to leave Pakistan despite Muhammad Ali Jinnah guarantees Initially, people crossed the border without papers, then travel permits were introduced and finally both sides issued passports. At that time, the documents authorized travel, but were not yet associated with citizenship.
The problem posed by returning Muslims was that their property had been conferred on the custodian of the property of the evacuees and, in many cases, had been used to settle refugees. There was no problem about their citizenship and, therefore, did not figure. On the other hand, there are examples such as letters written to immigrants in Pakistan by Zakir Hussain, begging them to return to their homes. I know of people who came back after a few months and even wrote about one of those cases in my book, At home in India. It is quite understandable that Hindus and Sikhs who otherwise had emigrated at the time of the Partition chose to do so as a second thought, disappointed with the conditions in Pakistan. But that applies so much to Muslims in Pakistan, and we know that several hundred have been granted citizenship of India over the years.
The problem with the Citizenship Law (Modification), or the CAA, is that it seeks to create an artificial division between Hindus and Sikhs on the one hand, and with Muslims on the other, apparently for reasons of persecution, although the law does not require any persecution test. The truth is that many Muslims, particularly the Qadyani, Shia and Baloch tribes face much worse persecution. We could have made a law to accommodate refugees taking into account the historical and regional context.
Arif Mohammad Khan has suggested that since Partition, there has been a severe fall in Pakistan’s non-Muslim population, although this may be an exaggeration. That still does not justify the automatic exclusion of migrant Muslims or refugees from our concern. His reference to the Resolution of the Congress Committee of all India and the concern expressed by Ashok Gehlot, the then chief minister of Rajasthan, must remain in the context of a pending issue that any reasonable person would like to resolve. Certainly you cannot add any ideological dimension to justify the thesis proposed by Khan. We must not forget that despite their efforts, we are not limited to the India-Pakistan binary, but we are also dealing with Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The logic applied to Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities may not apply to Bangladesh, and certainly not to Afghanistan, about which former President Hamid Karzai has said that all of his citizens are persecuted by civil war. In addition, the exclusion of Sri Lanka defies logic.
Having lent the moral agnosticism of the CAA, Khan has chosen to move away from the response in Assam, where the people and the government have consistently opposed the law because their concern is about strangers who will dilute their culture regardless of their faith. . This is what leads us to believe that the persecution story is a ruse to solve the problem of what to do with the Hindu foreigners identified in the process of the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
Beyond that, there are doubts that the same preferential treatment will be extended to people of a particular faith under a possible NRC throughout India.
Salman Khurdhid is a former cabinet minister of the Union
The opinions expressed are personal.