Sunday, May 19, 2024

Muslim leaders on CAA: Discriminatory to Muslims, violation of fundamental principles of equality, justice

Prominent Muslim leaders in India representing their organizations have vehemently opposed the Union government’s announcement to implement the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019.

In a joint statement, the leaders described CAA “discriminatory” to Muslims and a violation of “the fundamental principles of equality and justice.”

The signatories include Jamiatul Ulema Hind president Maulana Mahmood Asad Madani, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind president Syed Sadatullah Husaini, Imarat-e-Sharia’s Ameer Maulana Faisal Wali Rahmani, All India Milli Council Vice President Maulana Aneesur Rahman Qasmi, Welfare Party of India President Dr. Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas and Delhi Minorities Commission former chairman Dr Zafarul Islam Khan.

The joint statement said that the insertion of Clause (b) in Section 2 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, establishes biased treatment – by mentioning individuals belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, or Christian communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Pakistan, who entered the Indian territory before December 31, 2014; shall not be treated as an illegal migrant.

“The act sheepishly avoids mentioning Muslims infringing the fundamental right to equality and secularism guaranteed by the Indian constitution by selectively granting citizenship based on religious affiliation; thus undermining the principle of equal treatment under the law. This discriminatory legislation threatens the social fabric of the country eroding the foundational principles of inclusivity and diversity,” read the statement.

“The approval of the Citizen Amendment Bill by the Indian Parliament created a nationwide uproar and protests from Muslims and other sections of society, who felt an immediate responsibility to protect the Constitution of India,” it added.

The Muslims leaders went on to say: “The timing chosen for the implementation of the act is also questionable and shows the evident political motive of creating a religious divide in the society for narrow political interests.”

The joint statement demanded that citizenship should be granted on principles of equality, irrespective of religion, caste, or creed. “The Act’s provisions directly contradict these principles and threaten the secular fabric of our nation,” the Muslim leaders said.

The Union government has announced rules to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), weeks before General Elections 2024.

The controversial law passed in 2019 by Hindu nationalists government allowed Indian citizenship for non-Muslim refugees from India’s neighbouring countries. The law was declared “anti-Muslim” by Muslim organisations, Opposition parties and several rights groups for keeping India’s largest religious minority out of its ambit, raising questions over the secular character of the country.

The Union government had not drafted the rules for the law following nationwide protests over its passage in December 2019. The violence against the protests had killed more than 100 Muslims across the country.

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