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India's plan to accommodate victims of religious persecution from Pakistan and Bangladesh, a right step
Narendra Modi government is contemplating to amend citizenship act to accommodate victims of religious persecution from neighbouring countries through Long Term Visa (LTV) or citizenship. It's also proposed that the LTV holder can open bank accounts, can have PAN number, Aadhar Card, Ration Card and even they can own land in India.
It was BJP's poll promise to give this facility to the persecuted Hindu minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh. However, the Home Ministry's proposal is to accommodate even Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians.

The Indian secular industry has raised objection to this proposal, saying that it doesn't include Muslims. Some even cited Article 14 of the Indian Constitution that speaks of equality for all irrespective of caste, creed, race, gender and religion. Congress and other's have even started complaining that Modi government is aiming towards religious polarisation in the country by cornering the Muslim community. Is their complaint genuine or they are simply playing a vote bank politics?

Let's first focus on what Article 14 of the Constitution says. Yes, this article talks about equality. But, this is applicable for Citizens of India and not for foreigners. Thus Article 14 is relevant in the context of amendment proposal to citizenship act.

The secular flag bearers maintain a stoic silence on gender discrimination in Muslim community, which is violation of Article 14 as they are scared of losing their vote bank! What a hypocrisy!

The proposal is for religious minorities. Now, who are the religious minorities in our neighborhood? Pakistan, Bangladesh and some parts of Myanmar were parts of the larger India. Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are seriously persecuted in Pakistan and Bangladesh where the majority population is of Muslims.

In 1947, Pakistan had 14% and Bangladesh had 29% Hindus as part of their total population. Now their population is reduced to 1% and 8% respectively. As this population was once the part of undivided India, thus the country has a duty to give justice to them. Similarly, in Chakma area of Myanmar, Buddhists are persecuted. Thus they should also be included.

Are there any instances of persecution of Muslim community in Pakistan or Bangladesh? One can't give example of Shia-Sunni issues or neither can say that at present Ahmadis are facing persecution. The term religious minority is apt because the partition occurred on religious lines where Shias, Ahmadis and other sects of Muslims took lead roles on the basis of Hindu and Muslim majority areas. So, if some sects are persecuted internally it's their problem and if they want India to accommodate them, then they must come with proportionate land space from the countries they are living in presently.

Is India having any obligation towards persecuted minorities in Nepal and Sri Lanka. I don't think so, because these countries were not part of pre-independence India. But, India can still give political asylum to religious minorities from these countries as per standard procedure established under the law.

Some opposition parties are now trying to mix issue of illegal infiltration from Bangladesh and Tamil refugee case with the current amendment proposal. Tamil refugees were accommodated under political asylum whereas Bangladeshi infiltrators have illegally crossed into India and that too not because of the religious persecution, but to steal resources of India meant for Indians only. Thus as per the Supreme Court verdict all illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators post 1971 must be expelled from the country.

The problem of secular industry is visible. They very well know the real victims of religious persecution in Pakistan and Bangladesh. But, they want to create confusion in a bid to save illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who are meticulously made an opportunistic vote bank for them at the cost of national interest. 

The alarming demographic changes in Assam, West Bengal and some parts of Tripura are due to illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators with the tacit support of the self-claimed flag bearers of secular political parties. For these parties, power is important not the interest of the nation.

However, people of India very well understand such vote bank politics that is taking place at the cost of their interests. I hope Modi government won't get disturbed due to such cacophonic objections with vested interests and will go ahead to save the true victims of religious persecution. 

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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