• Letter of Opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (2019)

    ANHAD

    December 11, 2019

    The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (2019) has recently been approved by the Union Cabinet. Based on media reports and an erstwhile lapsed version of the bill, it appears that the proposed law will grant Indian citizenship to any Hindu, Christian, Jain, Sikh, Parsi, and Buddhist refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who arrived before December 31, 2014. It will not apply to the tribal areas of the northeast, in Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

    While the Citizenship Amendment Bill’s stated purpose is to offer refuge to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries, it only applies to a small, very specific group of minorities and countries. It conveniently omits Ahmadis from Pakistan, Rohingyas from Myanmar, and Tamils from Sri Lanka, proving that the bill is not about protecting refugees, but instead is intended simply to advance the agenda of Hindutva. In turn, the law will inflame passions, and sharpen communal divisions all over the country, particularly in Bengal, Assam, and other states of the North East.


    The Home Minister, Amit Shah, has stated in clear terms the intention of the government to “kick out […] every intruder except Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs." The exclusion of Muslims from his speech, and from this Bill is aimed is to further divide the country along communal lines, and target a vulnerable minority community.

    The final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam categorised over 19 lakh people as “illegal immigrants,” the majority of whom have lived in Assam for decades. Sources suggest that more than 14 lakh people on the list are Hindu whereas5 lakh are Muslim. As soon as these figures came in, BJP leaders demanded that the NRC be conducted once more, as there were Hindus than Muslims on the list. They then tried to divide people throughout Bengal and the North East by promising citizenship to only the Hindus on the list.

    Not only is this amendment discriminatory, it is also poorly planned. In Assam, which has a population of 3.5 crores, the government of India has spent 1,600 crore rupees in order to implement the NRC. We must consider the financial cost of implementing such a system throughout the country.

    The Union Government plans to replicate the NRC in all Indian states to drive out the so-called infiltrators and foreign migrants. If the proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act take effect, it would mean that these undocumented migrants will be granted Indian citizenship as long as they are not Muslims.


    Additionally, there has been little to no communication with neighbouring countries on the practical aspects of execution, especially deportation of migrants. When the Indian Prime Minister met Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the UN General Assembly, he assured her that the NRC process happening in India would not affect Bangladesh. Within India, the government has stated that illegal immigrants will be kicked out of the country.

    The Constitution of India is founded on the values of secular democracy providing equality of rights across religious groups. The proposed amendments to the citizenship law are an affront to the Constitution. On the face of it, these amendments violate Article 14, which guarantees equality under the law, and Article 15, which prohibits the state to discriminate on religious lines.

    Both of these articles are part of the Basic Structure of Indian Constitution which cannot be amended under any circumstances by the Parliament, as declared by the Supreme Court of India in the Keshavnanda Bharati (1973) judgement.

    If this law comes into effect, it will overturn one of India’s most important values, and determine citizenship on the basis of religion. This would damage the very fabric of this country, and opposing this law is imperative for all Indians. Not only will this law contradict the founding values of the Indian republic, but it will also change the character of this nation forever. By converting India into a homeland of Hindus, it mimics a dangerous idea of ethnic citizenship which has always provoked disharmony and violence across the world, including in the neighbouring country of Pakistan.

    It is the responsibility of every Indian citizen who values equality and justice to oppose this reprehensible proposal to change the character of Indian citizenship. In support of various protests taking place across India and outside, we, the concerned residents of Gujarat unequivocally opposed and condemn this proposed law.

    Signed,
    1. Dev Desai, Social Activist, Anhad
    2. Maansi Shah, CEPT University
    3. Sharik Laliwala, Independent Researcher
    4. Prasanthi P
    5. Admiral Ramdas
    6. Lalita Ramdas
    7. Sheba George, Activist
    8. Bhargav Oza, Independent Researcher
    9. Cedric Prakash, Prakash Ahmedabad
    10. Mridul Gupta, Concerned Citizen
    11. Mohd Saifuddin, Indian Citizen
    12. Amita, GMM
    13. Maya, Concerned Citizen
    14. Akhila Vasan, Karnataka Janaarogya Chaluvali
    15. Hiren Gandhi, Darshan
    16. Anjali N., Independent Researcher17. Kamal, Concerned Citizen
    18. Venkat Srinivasan, Concerned Citizen
    19. Jasvir Singh Arora, Individual
    20. Sameer Yadav, Anant National University
    21. Munawar, Student
    22. Sudhir Chopra, Concerned Citizen
    23. Imran, Concerned Citizen
    24. Nirjhari Sinha, Jan Sangharsh Manch
    25. Persis Ginwalla
    26. Aziz Minat, Concerned Citizen27. Johanna Lokhande, Concerned Citizen
    28. Shamshad Pathan, Alp Sankhyak Adhikar Manch
    29. Riaz Motiwala, Concerned Citizen
    30. Hemantkumar Shah, HK Arts College Ahmedabad
    31. Mohammad Marfatiya, SVMBA
    32. Manjusha, Lawyer
    33. Niket Patel, Concerned Citizen
    34. Zohran Jilani, Jamia Millia Islamia
    35. Azhar, Activist
    36. Rakhi Sehgal, Labour Researcher & activist
    37. Saif Ahmad Beg, Concerned Citizen
    38. Anil Hebbar, Bharat Jodo Abhiyan
    39. Chirag, Concerned Citizen
    40. Hanif Lakdawala, Activist
    41. Bhavik Raja, SUCI(C)
    42. Jignaba Rana, Adulation
    43. Mahendra Rathod, All India D.S.O.
    44. Rama Ponnaiah, DMK
    45. Surabhi, Concerned Citizen
    46. Vaseef Hussain, Concerned Citizen
    47. Oindrila Hazarika, Concerned Citizen
    48. Naushad Ahmad, Concerned Citizen
    49. Govind Desai, Concerned Citizen

    50. Smita Pandya, Concerned Citizen
    51. Salim Hafezi, International Rated Chess Player
    52. C. A. Jakate, Concerned Citizen
    53. Niyati, Concerned Citizen
    54. F. C. Jakate, Concerned Citizen
    55. Kavisha, Concerned Citizen
    56. Sabina Solomon, Concerned Citizen
    57. Florence D'Souza, Concerned Citizen
    58. Mohd Abuzar, Anhad
    59. Hiren Gandhi, Concerned Citizen
    60. Saroop Dhruv, Concerned Citizen
    61. K. Srinivas, Concerned Citizen
    62. Nilesh Kumar D Parmar, Concerned Citizen
    63. Akhilesh Dave, Indian Radical Humanist Association
    64. Ghanshyam Shah, Independent Researcher
    65. Waqar Qazi, Social Activist
    66. Jatin, Concerned Citizen
    67. Mukesh Patel Junagadh, Concerned Citizen
    68. Krishan Upadhyay, Concerned Citizen
    69. আুল হািমদ পৰামািনক, Concerned Citizen

    70. Kaushik Parmar, Social Worker.
    71. Tanmay Timir, Concerned Citizen
    72. Ena, Dasam
    73. Rehan, Anhad
    74. Kawish Reza, SFI
    75. Mahesh Kumar, Consulting Journalist
    76. Thahir Ali, Concerned Citizen
    77. Salman, Concerned Citizen
    78. Maansi Shah, IIT Roorkee
    79. Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad
    80. Abdul Moeed, Indian and Muslim
    81. Sehba, AIDWA
    82. Ranu Jain, Academician
    83. Rafi Malek, Concerned Citizen
    84. Zafar Ullah, Publisher
    85. Nazneen Shaikh, Concerned Citizen
    86. Maimoona Mollah, AIDWA and CPI (M)
    87. Lasin, Concerned Citizen
    88. Farah, Concerned Citizen
    89. Jay Patel, Student at MSU, Baroda
    90. Abhjnay Pratap, Concerned Citizen
    91. Rachana Mudraboyina, Transgender Rights Activist
    92. Faraz Ahmed, Concerned Citizen
    93. Mohd Noman Shamsi, Concerned Citizen

    94. Radhika Radhakrishnan, Researcher
    95. Sagar Agrawal, Concerned Citizen
    96. Shradha, Concerned Citizen
    97. Atif Waqar, Concerned Citizen
    98. Rachelle C, IIT Gandhinagar
    99. Keshav Jee, Student
    100. Daniyal Ashraf, Concerned Citizen
    101. Rakshit, Student
    102. Nitin, Activist
    103. Prerna Khobragade, Concerned Citizen
    104. Soumen, Artist
    105. Pallavi Krishnappa, Researcher
    106. Haby Koshy Mathew, PhD student IITGN
    107. Jignesh Sengal, Concerned Citizen
    108. Ruchit Sengupta, Alumni of IIIT Bangalore
    109. Umang Kumar, Concerned Citizen
    110. Shruti Lokre, Lawyer
    111. Priyanka Sachar, Concerned Citizen
    112. Mohd Masir Siddique, Concerned Citizen

    113. Sharonee Dasgupta, Delhi University
    114. Priyadarshi Chowdhury, Concerned Citizen
    115. Md Moeez, Concerned Citizen
    116. Saravanan V, MPhil scholar, JNU
    117. Jyoti, JNU
    118. Abid Faheem, Research Scholar (JNU)
    119. Nasreen Ebrahim , United Citizen Forum
    120. Prashanth, IITGN
    121. Raja Rabbi Hussain, Delhi Soliarity Group
    122. Poonam Agarwal, Concerned Citizen
    123. Yousuf Abbas, National Power Training Institute
    124. Aqib Khan, Concerned Citizen
    125. Kripa Daniel, Delhi Solidarity Group
    126. Kavita, Aidwa
    127. Himadri, JNU
    128. Shobhana Warrier, Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi
    129. Ishwor, Dsg
    130. Shivani, Concerned Citizen
    131. Syed Iliyas Ahmed, Concerned Citizen
    132. Prasad Chacko, Social Worker, Ahmedabad

    133. J Emerald, Writer
    134. Ateeque Ahmed, Concerned Citizen
    135. Fozia Rahman, Lawyer
    136. Shagun Sharma, Concerned Citizen
    137. Irshad Ahmad, Concerned Citizen
    138. Prof. Hemant Joshi, Retired Professor
    139. Rohan Mishra, Concerned Citizen
    140. Leena Dabiru, Social Worker
    141. Faishal Ekbal, Concerned Citizen
    142. Satorupa, Concerned Citizen
    143. Sarfaraz Ahmed Siddiqui, Concerned Citizen
    144. Ajin K Thomas, Researcher, Ahmedabad
    145. Robert John, Indian Citizen
    146. Prita Jha, Peace and Equality Cell
    147. Saiyed Azhar, Architect
    148. Sadiah, Muslim
    149. Radhika Kapur, Concerned Citizen
    150. Sagar Parekh, SVNIT, Surat
    151. Vinoo Hora, NFIW
    152. Ganesh Devi, Rashtra Seva Dal & Dakhinayan
    153. Abhilash, Concerned Citizen
    154. Shivaji K Panikkar, Retired professor
    155. Runu, Independent Activist

    156. Sukhalata Sen, Jawaharlal Nehru University
    157. Uttam Parmar, Concerned Citizen
    158. Aakhya, Student
    159. Dwarika Nath Rath, Movement for Secular Democracy (MSD)
    160. Darshak D Solanki, Concerned Citizen
    161. ABI KS, Student, Chandigarh University
    162. Sushanth N S, Marketer
    163. Neha Patel, Concerned Citizen
    164. Kehar Singh, Concerned Citizen
    165. Khairunnisha, Concerned Citizen
    166. Noor Zaheer, NFIW
    167. Mohammad Sharif Malek, Concerned Citizen
    168. Varadharajan Ramakrishnan, Concerned Citizen
    169. Rachana, Concerned Citizen
    170. Nagarajan, Concerned Citizen
    171. Reggie Fernandes, Indian residing abroad
    172. Gopi Menon, Concerned Citizen
    173. Atul Mhase, Concerned Citizen
    174. N Ramakrishnan, Retired bank officer
    175. Swati Goswami, Concerned Citizen
    176. R Nagarajan, IT professional
    177. R Srinivasan, Press
    178. Rekha Srinivasan, Music Teacher

    179. Selvi Nagarajan, Housewife
    180. Shobhana Narayanan, Business woman
    181. Dr. Rangnekar, Researcher
    182. Yash Rangnekar, IT Professional
    183. Parnisha Sarkar, Graduate student, University of Toronto
    184. Anil Chandra, Concerned Citizen
    185. Hozefa Ujjaini, Buniyaad
    186. Samina Diwan, Parwaaz
    187. Nisha, CSO
    188. Vatya, TISS
    189. Hasina Khan, Citizen of India
    190. Simona, PhD Scholar
    191. Prashanti, IIT Gandhinagar
    192. Arti Naahar, Concerned Citizen
    193. Sahil, Student
    194. Amaani Vaniya, Concerned Citizen
    195. Ananya Iyer, Student
    196. Rachelle C., IIT Gandhinagar
    197. Shweta Damle, Platform for Social Justice
    198. Arijita, NGO

    199. Mugdha Cheemakurthy, TISS
    200. Yasmeen Qureshi, Aawaaz-e-Niswaan
    201. Meghna Mehra, Founder, All India Queer Association
    202. Yasmeen Aga, Aawaaz-e-Niswaan
    203. Amritha Mather, Student
    204. Junaid, Student
    205. Anis Utpal, Concerned Citizen
    206. Nazreen, Habitat and Livelihood Welfare Association
    207. Avisikta, Social Development Organisation
    208. Farheen Salman, Concerned Citizen
    209. Arshad P., Architect
    210. Mangal, Concerned Citizen
    211. Saheli, Women's Resource Center, Autonomous Women's Group
    212. Nitish Mohan, SFI
    213. Sabika Abbas, Concerned Citizen
    214. M R Suhaib, All India Progressive Writers' Association
    215. Alankrita Anand, Ashoka University
    216. Mirza SoyebBeg YashinBeg, Concerned Citizen
    217. Khasim, Indian Citizen
    218. Ashraf Mansuri, Concerned Citizen
    219. Ansari Kausar, Concerned Citizen
    220. Sadath, Concerned Citizen
    221. Naveed A., Concerned Citizen

    222. Afreen Khan, Advocate, High Court of Bombay
    223. Gulrez, Concerned Citizen
    224. Jeff, Concerned Citizen
    225. Devidas Tuljapurkar, AIBEA
    226. Irshad Ahmad, Concerned Citizen
    227. Gulam Mustafa, Concerned Citizen
    228. Khurram Sajjad, Concerned Citizen
    229. Rina Kamath, Concerned Citizen
    230. Farhan Shahid, Concerned Citizen
    231. Firoz, Concerned Citizen
    232. Mohammad Aqeel Ahmad, Concerned Citizen


    Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.