I am going to skip the preamble; assuming that most people are aware of the basics. I am sure most of you have already been involved in plenty of heated debates on the topic or have had to actively avoid them. This article hopes to help those who are finding it hard to make their point or simply confused by the seemingly reasonable arguments made in support of CAA / CAB.
Principal Argument: It is simply addressing a historically unfinished episode
When India underwent partition on religious grounds, the two states (India & Pakistan) agreed to protect the religious minorities that remained in their respective countries. However, the Hindus (and others) were persecuted in Pakistan as witnessed by the decline in the proportion of Hindus (while the Muslims in India have flourished from less than 10% to approximately 15% of the population.
Counter: While I suspect there is religious discrimination in Pakistan and Bangladesh the statistics sighted are incorrect. However, I will not delve on it longer as it is not the most critical argument. Interested folks, can read the BBC article here.
These minorities need a place to call their own and many come seeking refuge in India. Why can’t we provide them the stability of citizenship? Can you imagine the hardship they have gone through? The decades of turmoil and hardship?
Counter: Giving stability and another chance to these folks is a good thing! One can hardly argue against such a noble goal! However, if we are sympathizing with those that are discriminated, why not form a law that states: All refugees that have come to India due to religious discrimination prior to 2015 will be given citizenship. This would include denominations of Muslims (and Jews) as well.
Now the argument fractures based on who you’re arguing:
Fractured sub-argument 1: Whether you like it or not, Partition happened on religious ground. Muslims chose to form their own country. If they are now stuck in the mess they created why should we offer them refuge?
Counter: The Hindus who remained in these countries also made the same choice. Why provide them a different standard for mistakes that are forgivable? We are a secular country. If we are willing to forgive one religious group of a mistake, we should be willing to forgive another for the same.
Fractured sub-argument 2: What’s the point of including them in the Bill? Refugees from those minorities didn’t come to India! So this is of no point.
Counter: What’s the point of excluding them? Isn’t this simply a message to those communities that they are not as important or accepted? If they haven’t come, great. Pass the law in an agnostic manner and it won’t be utilized by that community.
Fractured sub-argument 3: India doesn’t have the resources to feed its own people! Are we supposed to take everyone that comes here?
Counter: This law is not prospective, it’s retrospective. These people are ALREADY in India. There is not going to be a sudden drain on our resources that wasn’t already existing. And again, why are we willing to accept a drain on our resources to correct the mistakes of one group, but not the other?
Key Takeaway: Honestly, the only real issue is how can we pass a law that says we, a secular country, feel more sympathetic to certain religious minorities vs the others. If you’re a Muslim or Jew being discriminated, too bad. If you’re a Hindu, we got you back! What does this say? Do I really need to spell this out any more?
Placating Argument: This is a bill of INCLUSION not exclusion
We are only passing a law that will enable more people to become Indian citizen. What is all this fuss?
Counter: When you say certain religious groups have a greater right to demand citizenship than another, you are being exclusive. Selective inclusion is just exclusion from the other sides perspective.
But it’s not like we are throwing out Indian Muslims out of the country! The religious minorities are safe within the boundaries of our country!
Counter: Let’s not kid ourselves. BJP has openly stated they will being bringing NRC across the country next. They have also openly admitted that CAA and NRC are two sides of the same coin to ‘cleanse India’. If you still want to believe that this is not a tool they will eventually use to harass the Muslims (if not outrightly negate their citizenship) then either you’re a secretly a fascist or just plain old stupid.
Don’t believe me? Hear it from the horse’s mouth:
First, via CAB we will give all the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christian people who have come here, Indian citizenship. Then... Then - listen carefully...
Then we will implement NRC! Tell me, should we not throw out this intruders? Tell me loudly! Should we or shouldn't we?
BJP government will first give the citizenship to "refugees". After that, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Assam to Gujarat, we will remove each and every "intruder".
Amit Shah, a political genius, and Narendra Modi, an enigmatic leader, make a lethal combination. They have managed to stoke their core base with blatant statements of hatred (clearly revealing their plan) and at the same time kept a façade of deniability in front of the mainstream media (which have been bought and paid for).
I am sure there is a large group of people in India who want this hatred to continue. But I also believe there is a larger majority of people who don’t. I have seen many people hesitate to counter CAA because they are simply not as well informed or getting confused by the seemingly reasonable arguments of the BJP and Bhakts.
We need to change that.
The evil duo are also destroying our democracy and our institutions. I hope that at least you will sympathize with that.
Because today it’s the Muslims. But remember, hate politics constantly requires hate to fuel it. When they are done with this, they will need something else. By then the last semblance of our democracy will be destroyed and you will find that there is nothing to protect you.