India’s Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

By Raghbendra Jha.

This article argues that despite the media and mass movements protesting India’s Citizenship Amendment Act CAA), it does not strip any Indian of their citizenship. Rather, it provides refuge to persecuted minorities. The article provides historical context to the CAA.  It recounts that the seeds of India’s partition were laid with the 1946 communal based elections in India wherein the Muslim League won an overwhelming majority of the Muslim seats in the Central and local assemblies while promising an independent Muslim country called Pakistan.  However, many people in what was to become Pakistan voted for the Congress party (which was by and large representing Hindus) and many people in India voted for the Muslim League.

In the more than seven decades since independence the share of Muslim population in India has grown steadily whereas the share of non-Muslim population in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan has declined steadily.  Indian Muslims’ mean household expenditure is statistically similar to that of the Hindus and Muslims have risen to very high positions in India. By way of contrast, minorities particularly in Pakistan have been very poorly treated. Their share of the population has come down sharply and they lack economic opportunities even as they face indignity and oppression as young non-Muslim women have often been kidnapped and forced to convert and get married to Muslims.   Hence, there is a strong case for India providing protection to minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. 

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