If the Citizenship Amendment Act was truly meant to help ‘persecuted Hindus’, why have Hindu Tamilians from Sri Lanka, one of the largest persecuted groups, been left out of its purview?

Women protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at Shaheen Bagh. Photo: Tanushree Bhasin

By Ram Puniyani

As the massive scam related to electoral bonds was unfolding, Union home minister Amit Shah declared the rules and procedures for implementation of Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) which was passed nearly four years ago. The timing of its implementation, with the electoral bond scam coming to the surface and general elections right around the corner, is very obvious given the pattern of politics pursued by the BJP.

One recalls that CAA was brought to the fore in the aftermath of the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), which was undertaken in Assam. The people were asked to provide the papers related to their citizenship. The understanding was that Assam has been infiltrated by Bangladeshi Muslims to the tune of 15 million and this step will help the government to expel them. They were called termites, detention centres came up and many more were planned at different places. The results of the NRC were surprising. Out of the around 19 lakh people who did not have proper papers, only 7 lakh were Muslims. To bypass the issue, CAA was brought forward. The propaganda of 15 million Bangladeshi Muslims fell flat.

As per CAA, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, who came from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh before December 2014, were to be given citizenship. Interestingly, Muslims were kept out of this list. This led to strong protests all over the country and the protests in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jamia Milia Islamia in particular were brutally crushed. This in turn led to one of the biggest mass movements of independent India starting at New Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh. Remarkably, these protests were led by Muslim women all over the country. They protested with the constitution in hand and Gandhi in their hearts.

This story was originally published in thewire.in. Read the full story here.