In a discussion with Prasanth Radhakrishnan, Prabir Purkayastha dismantles the government’s claim that the Citizenship Amendment Bill is a humanitarian move. He points out it was no one’s case that refugees to India not be granted citizenship on compassionate grounds. The Bill arose from the NRC exercise in Assam, which revealed that the bulk of people identified as undocumented were Hindus — an outcome unwelcome to the BJP, which was looking to target Muslims as the sole outsiders or encroachers. The CAB has been tailored to generate such an outcome, since Muslims must now prove they or their families were citizens of India in 1971, while no such documentation is required of non-Muslims. Muslims have been marked out for segregation and divestment of rights.
Citizenship based on identity rather than geographical location has infamous parallels with segregationist USA and Nazi Germany. It cannot but lead to similar outcomes. Besides, given the demands it places on resources and data processing, the Bill is not workable. The only guaranteed result is civil strife, as already evident in the North-East.