Just over 30,000 displaced Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians (official numbers), who were driven out from the two neighboring countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh, have been struggling to find a place they can call home. When they stepped into India, they did find Home. For these displaced people, this was home, where they didn’t face the daily intimidation and maiming, murders and rapes they faced in their countries of origin. This was where their heart was! Yes, India may not be heaven to many of us, but to those lost souls, it was as close to heaven as they could get. The only catch was, they had to have been in India for at least 11 years.
On the 10th of December, 2019, the government passed into law, the Citizenship Amendment Bill, that allowed these displaced souls the privilege of getting to call a country, they have lived in for the past 20 years, home. The stipulation that was made earlier, of 11 years, was brought down to 5 years. If you go back to the list, you will observe that Muslims are ominously missing. That is because neither of our Islamic neighbors has maimed, killed, raped or otherwise intimidated Muslims. Yet, this was being construed as an attempt to belittle and malign the Muslim community. Please, we have approximately 16% of the population as Muslims! How are we belittling or maligning them? By not allowing Rohingyas to settle in India? Rohingyas are not displaced!! They left their countries to come and settle in India, and then, through whatever means, were Indian “citizens”.
Thus, started a controversy! Politicians, mostly the opposition, started screaming how this law was discriminatory against Muslims! Say what? The very people who were now screaming discrimination were the ones who started discriminating way back in the 90s. To undo a mistake done by them was now being termed discriminatory!! The MP from Hyderabad even went to the extent of tearing up the Citizenship Amendment Bill(CAB). So called leftists termed this as an atrocity, and that India was now going “to the dogs.” And yet, the same people want the Rohingyas to be allowed to live in a country they say is “going to the dogs”. Confuse you enough? The next paragraph should confuse you even more.
The West Bengal Chief Minister issued a statement that left me confounded when she said “West Bengal doesn’t discriminate based on religion”. I had to do a double take to make sure I read it right! I had read it right! This lady, who wouldn’t allow Durga Puja to be celebrated because it would hurt Muslim sentiments, was now claiming she didn’t discriminate based on religion!! Another leftist leader, an ex-MP from the communist party, stated that he and likeminded people would raise the awareness of the common people! Basically, what he meant was he was going to rabble rousing!! Unfortunately, for him anyway, he doesn’t seem to have too many followers who would listen to him. Enough of this farce, dear opposition parties! The people have had enough of your rhetoric!!
The CAB is meant to protect people, Hindus and Non-Hindus, who were discriminated against in their countries of origin. In the neighboring countries, where Islam is the state religion, dwindling minorities need shelter otherwise they will face the sword and will be forced to convert to Islam! While the politicians debate on this bill and its merits (or demerits), people like my friend, Dr Omendra Ratnu (who has been fighting a lonely war to safeguard the Hindus in Pakistan) have a reason to celebrate. After all, he has been fighting to get these people to be accepted as citizens of India. Dr Ratnu, I hope you see a light at the end of a very, very long tunnel. To all those, who are wondering “what next”, this too shall pass and we will be celebrating another victory soon! UCC, here we come!!