Weaponizing Citizenship (CAA-NRC)

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act is a piece of legislation that offers fast-track citizenship to persecuted minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Jains, Buddhists) of only three Muslim-majority neighboring countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). These can be refugees already in India, ones seeking asylum, or those who have yet to arrive in the country.

While it is noble in that it helps out wrongfully-persecuted communities that bear the brunt of majoritarianism in neighbouring countries, this is fundamentally discriminatory in that Muslims are excluded. That too, Muslim minorities like Shiites, Hazaras, Ahmadis, Ismaliis, and etc.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act

Ironically, some who did not qualify for the NRC turned out to be Hindu. Yet in the broader context of the parallel CAA legislation, everyone except Muslims can get citizenship. This only leaves Muslims vulnerable to NRC detention camps.

These NRC centers are more likely to be implemented in BJP-ruled states. The opposition Congress party, other regional parties have either outright condemned both initiatives or have pointed out some sort of macro and micro problems with both initiatives.

Yet, even external intelligence security has pointed out problematic aspects of the CAA when it was a bill in that it doesn’t map out specific guidelines as to how authorities will ascertain if someone is a persecuted Hindu, Sikh, Zoroastrian, Jain, or Buddhist from Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Bangladesh.

One can see that these are reminiscent of the way citizenship ship was weaponized against Jews a la the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws of 1935. This was one of the many foundations of the historic, tragic genocide of Jews by Adolf Hitler’s regime.

The National Register of Citizens

A parallel initiative of this is the National Register of Citizens (NRC) which seeks to verify whether someone is an illegal immigrant in India. While the need to curb illegal immigration is a legitimate one, the parameters to determine whether someone qualifies as a legal citizen via the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are very tenuous at best.

Anybody who does not qualify for the NRC will be expelled from the country or automatically placed into a detention center. These centers are reminiscent of concentration camps that were integral to the genocide of Jews in Nazi Germany.

In Assam, where the BJP came into power, the final NRC was published in mid-2019. The conditions to be included in the NRC were that one had to prove that they, their parents, or grandparents entered on or after March 25 1971 through some certificate such as a bank statement, any form of ID, or official document. Many in Assam could not prove their citizenship even within the vague parameters of what constitutes as legitimate documentation.

caa & nrc