India, like Europe and the United States, has a problem with Muslim mass migration. This mass migration is often mischaracterized as being that of refugees, but genuine refugees are fleeing religious or political persecution. Muslim “refugees” mostly leave Muslim majority countries. They bypass other Muslim majority countries in favor of non-Muslim countries. This migration inevitably leads to terrorism and violence.
And India is trying to secure the rights of legitimate refugees, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, fleeing persecution in Muslim majority countries, while making it clear that Muslim illegal aliens will not get a pass there the way that they do in Europe.
That’s what the Citizenship Amendment Bill is about.
And the media is deliberately lying about it, the way that it lies about efforts to stop illegal migration anywhere.
The New York Times claims that the Citizenship Amendment Bill is part of “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist agenda.”
Except that the bill protects the rights of Christian and Buddhist refugees.
Muslim Indians are deeply unsettled. They see the new measure, called the Citizenship Amendment Bill, as the first step by the governing party to make second-class citizens of India’s 200 million Muslims, one of the largest Muslim populations in the world, and render many of them stateless.
“We are heading toward totalitarianism, a fascist state,” said Asaduddin Owaisi, a Muslim lawmaker, who on Monday dramatically tore up a copy of the bill while giving a speech in Parliament. “We are making India a theocratic country.”
What the New York Times isn’t saying is that the status of Muslim citizens isn’t changing, but of Muslim illegal aliens who lack documentation.
With the new citizenship bill, Mr. Modi’s party says it is simply trying to protect persecuted Hindus, Buddhists and Christians (and members of a few smaller religions) who migrate from predominantly Muslim countries such as Pakistan or Afghanistan.
But the legislation would also make it easier to incarcerate and deport Muslim residents, even those whose families have been in India for generations, if they cannot produce proof of citizenship.
In other words, the bill protects a variety of non-Hindu religions. It however deals with India’s huge Muslim illegal alien problem.
Mr. Modi’s supporters employ a certain logic when defending the bill’s exclusion of Muslims. They say Muslims are not persecuted in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan, which is mostly true. They also say that when India and Pakistan were granted independence in 1947, the British carved out Pakistan as a haven for Muslims, while India remained predominantly Hindu. To them, the extension of that process is to ask illegal Muslims migrants to leave India and seek refuge in neighboring, mainly Muslim nations.
Article 25 of the Indian Constitution says, “All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.” Given that, many opponents of the bill say the citizenship legislation is patently unconstitutional. But the Hindu nationalists have an answer for that, as well.
“We are not talking about citizens,” said Ramesh Shinde, a spokesman for the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, a Hindu organization that is considered a far-right group. “We are talking about migrants.”
India has been dealing with the same problem for generations that Europe is now dealing with.