Being minority in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh should not be a disqualification for getting justice in India, says Vice-Chairman
The National Commission for Minorities Vice-Chairman George Kurian has welcomed the Citizen’s Amendment Act (CAA). He thanked the Centre for promulgating such a law which will give justice to persecuted Christians in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. “The NCM is flooded with messages from Christian leaders of all denominations across the country welcoming the new legislation. They tell me ‘Justice has finally been done to Christians who are victims of draconian blasphemy laws, religious conversions and abductions,’ said Kurian.
Kurian said, in a democratic society, every individual has the right to oppose any legislation which he/she thinks undesirable. “But if justice is done to certain communities, that should be welcomed by all. I would like to express my deep anguish and pain that those who are opposing CAA never welcomed the inclusion of these miniscule communities. This, in a way, amounts to saying that being a minority in Pakistan is a disqualification in India for getting justice. Those who are vociferously advocating for minority rights in India are silent on the persecution of minorities in Pakistan. In their opinion, they are disqualified for according citizenship in India,” he said.
According to Kurian, in the Preamble of our Constitution, it is clearly stated that …”We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India….”, that means the Constitution provides equal rights to all citizens of India. In CAA, it is mentioned only about the illegal migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It does not refer to citizens of India. That means those who are coming from those countries will only be affected by it. Those who are opposing this Act without welcoming the inclusion of Christians and other communities, are depriving Indian citizenship and justice to those people belonging to those communities who are being subjected to victimisation and torture on religious grounds.
“Another important point is that by this legislation, communities other than the six communities mentioned in the Act will not be affected in any manner,” he said.
He said, “CAA is in line with United Nation’s Declaration of Minority Rights, 1992 and United Nation’s Convention against Torture, 1984. According to the 1992 Declaration, it is ‘the duty of every country to protect minorities within their respective territories and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of their identity’. UN agencies including other international organizations, accepted that violence against minorities is rampant in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. That is why the minorities from those countries migrate to India. According to the 1984 Declaration, no country ‘shall extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger and would be subjected to torture’. If the relaxation which is granted under CAA is withdrawn, members of Christian and other communities who migrate to India would have to be extradited to their respective countries. They will certainly be subjected to torture in those countries…Minorities in India are well-protected and that is why the minorities in India never migrate to neighbouring countries. But that fact that minorities from neighbouring countries migrating to India speaks volumes of the plight of minorities in those countries.”