India has a long tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the world is one family and Atithi Devo Bhava – The guest of god. In modern times, these traditions have been evolving. The current Indian state was formed out of the integration of various princely states and partition of “greater India – which included current India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Partition led to the creation of secular India, and religion-based countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh. We all have heard the horror ordeal of people during partition as a result of the communal flare-up. A choice was given to people to either migrate to a country of their choice or stay back. Many families migrated out of the will, many out of compulsion due to lack of safety, many stayed back out of the will and many stayed back as they had no way to relocate.
In India’s neighborhood in most religion-based countries, concerns have been raised about the safety of minorities, forceful conversion of religion, demolition of places of worship, suppression of expression and threat to life. Population % of minorities in these countries has been on a serious decline. Many minority families have escaped the country and have been living in India and are in search of a real home. Even in India, including in parliament, this has appeared in discussion several times over the last few decades.
On the other hand, there are illegal migrants from these and other countries, who migrated to India in search of a better life. They remain a burden on the resources of people of India unless such people follow a legal route and are granted citizenship for which India has a balanced law.
Current government took a compassionate step towards such minorities, who has been
living the life of refugees, by offering them citizenship in India through the recent Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). It is all about minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and has nothing to do with existing citizens. Whereas NRC (National Register of Citizens) an exercise which was started decades back was to identify legitimate citizens, primarily in the state of Assam, which witnessed demographic changes due to illegal migrants. There is no such NRC in existence which is country-vide. Govt has issued clarifications vide FAQ issued.
A section of society is expressing reservation for making religion as a basis of granting
citizenship. On the other hand, people are asking, it is acts of atrocities in these states which led to such a situation of minorities seeking refuge in India and how can you protest asking not to give such people home in the country of their roots. Currently, I feel largescale people who are protesting are misinformed and need to be communicated with.
I believe minorities of these countries who have migrated due to religious persecution must be given citizenship but seek a change as to anybody persecuted should be given asylum. India never persecuted any community in history. The government should evolve a mechanism to weed out ones who have migrated in search of a better life, not persecution, whose cases can be handled as per the laws of India.