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ET Special Podcast (ET Online)

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 & its idea of India

03:53 Min | December 10, 2019, 6:37 PM IST
Following a heated debate in Lok Sabha on the passage of contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, today's special podcast tells you more about the Bill and what it does and does not do to the idea of India.
Script: Poorabi Gaekwad
Hosts: Deepshikha Rahi, Poorabi Gaekwad
Producer: Deepshikha Rahi, Poorabi Gaekwad


--owaisi byte-

Flawed, dangerous or gamechanger...The citizenship amendment Bill passed the lok sabha test yesterday with some spirited opposition like the one you just heard from Asaduddin Owaisi.

Yeah...a livid Owaisi tore a copy of bill, saying that it divides India just like Partition. So does it?

Before we delve more, let's understand what this Bill does...

Simply put....Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis and Jains from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh fleeing persecution will not be considered illegal immigrants if they have entered India on or before December 31, 2014...

All immigration cases against them will stand abated and they will also be eligible for Indian citizenship on an expedited basis, after six years of residency.

Hello I am Poorabi Gaekwad

and I am Deepshikha Rahi, welcome to ET’s podcast on the Citizenship Amendment Bill and what it does and does not do to the idea of India...

Now somewhere during the course of yesterday's debate I heard someone yell partition, two-nation theory....what was all that about. Is it really like Partition?

The home minister took the narrative to 1947. He said the Bill would not have been necessary if the Congress did not agree to Partition on the basis of religion.

But if you go by that, India was not created on the basis of religion, Pakistan was...

Youre right. Only the Muslim League and the Hindu Right advocated the two nation theory of Hindu and Muslim nations, which led to Partition. All the founders of India were committed to a secular state....

Then where is the problem?

The concern is the fact that this whole exercise ringfences Muslim identity by declaring India a welcome refuge to all other religious communities....that is the bit that is making people like Owaisi upset....

If you ask me, the logic is not consistent...the bill does not protect all religious minorities, nor does it apply to all neighbours. The Ahmedia Muslim sect and even Shias face discrimination in Pakistan.

Thats true. Rohingya Muslims and Hindus face persecution in Burma, and Hindu and Christian Tamils in Sri Lanka...so it does raise some concerns.

So are we sending a wrong message?

For one, it violates the Constitution’s Article 14, the fundamental right to equality to all persons. This basic structure of the Constitution cannot be reshaped by any Parliament.

And yet, the government maintains that it does not discriminate or violate the right to equality....can citizenship in a secular India be given on the basis of religion?

And then we have the NRC.....

That my friend is a whole new story. A pan indian NRC essentially means we got to reapply for citizenship.

Us too?

Yes you and me...125 crore Indians will have to produce documentary proof of their ancestors up to a certain date to create a legacy tree.

And in a country with poor documentation culture, how fair do you think it is to ask 125 crore Indians produce birth certificates and other documents of their grandparents or great-grandparents going back 50-60 years?

We will leave that to your judgement. This was our special podcast, for more on what's buzzing in the world of business, log on to economictimes.com
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