On Monday, 9th December, around midnight, the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, setting into action the Sangh Parivar vision of apartheid. This bill, being debated today in the Rajya Sabha, fundamentally changes the Citizenship Act 1955 to expedite the process of naturalisation for non-Muslim “minorities” from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan i.e. “Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians”. The exclusion of Muslims from this along with simultaneous plans of extending the National Register Citizenship to all of India forebodes the realisation of this regime’s ideology, built upon overturning the constitutional values of equality and secularism. The only parallel to such a supremacist definition of citizenship is Israel.
In 2018, Israel passed the Nation State Law, a Basic Law with constitutional status, which pronounces that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”. Anybody belonging to the Jewish faith can become a citizen of Israel, while Christian and Muslim Palestinians as well as other non-Jewish minorities in Israel have a second-class status. This goes along with the occupation and colonisation of occupied Palestinian territories. Palestinians and their descendants who were forcibly displaced to establish the state on Israel in 1948 are denied their fundamental right of return.
India’s proximity to Israel does not only translate into trade and arms deals, but in mirroring Israel’s policies and methodologies. We saw this earlier this year in Kashmir, with the removal of Article 370, and now in the Citizenship Amendment Bill. As India braces itself to see if Rajya Sabha passes the Citizenship Amendment Bill today, perhaps permanently altering this nation, and as people are rising in protest and already being met with state’s might, we share here a part of the dissent note of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to the bill, submitted by Lok Sabha Member of Parliament, Mohd. Salim on January 3, 2019, when it was first up for debate and was stopped in Rajya Sabha even though it was cleared in Lok Sabha.
Point Five: Regime Unhappy with Rejection of India's Rejection of Two Nation Theory
The proposed Amendments will do nothing short of foment Political, Religion, Linguistic and Ethnic Divisions. Those of this dominating persuasion are unhappy with the Indian Constitution’s unequivocal rejection of the two-nation theory. Today, based on the fundamentals of equality and non-discrimination within the constitution, Indian law cannot distinguish between Hindu and Muslim arrivals from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The real purpose of the citizenship amendment bill seems to be to introduce this distinction into India’s citizenship laws.
The BJP’s 2014 manifesto rather crudely states that “India shall remain a natural home for persecuted Hindus and they shall be welcome to seek refuge here.” Such a statement mimics the policy of only one other country, Israel—which sees itself as a sanctuary for Jews who are given an automatic right to enter the country and earn citizenship.
In February 2014, Prime Minister Modi (then on an election campaign) infamously said, “We have a responsibility towards Hindus who are harassed and suffer in other countries. India is the only place for them.” Israel, it is well known, has a dismal track record not just on the human rights of other peoples in general but of the Palestinians at the West Bank, in particular.