As many as 1,100 academicians, public intellectuals and research scholars have issued a statement in support of the newly enacted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which fast-tracks citizenship for persecuted religious minorities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh that arrived in India on or before 31 December 2014.
“We, a group of academicians, intellectuals and research scholars are issuing this statement in our personal capacity in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019,” the statement said.
In the statement, the group of academicians, intellectuals and research scholars contended that the Act fulfils the long pending demand of providing refuge to persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Ever since the failure of Liaquat-Nehru pact of 1950, various leaders and political parties like the Congress, CPI(M) etc, cutting across the ideological spectrum, have demanded the grant of citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh who mostly belong to the Dalit castes, the statement said.
“We congratulate the Indian parliament and government for standing up for forgotten minorities and upholding the civilizational ethos of India; providing a haven to those fleeing religious persecution. We also note with satisfaction that the concerns of the North-Eastern states have been heard and are being addressed appropriately,” the statement said.
“We believe that CAA is in perfect sync with the secular constitution of India as it does not prevent any person of any religion from any country, seeking Indian citizenship. Nor does it change the criteria of citizenship in any way; merely providing a special expedited redress, under special circumstances, for minorities fleeing religious persecution from three specific countries i.e. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It does not in any way prevent Ahmadis, Hazaras, Baloch or any other denominations and ethnicities, from these same three countries, seeking citizenship through regular processes,” the statement added.
“We also note with deep anguish, that an atmosphere of fear and paranoia is being created in the country through deliberate obfuscation and fear-mongering leading to violence in several parts of the country. We appeal to every section of society to exercise restraint and refuse to fall into the trap of propaganda, communalism and anarchism,” it said.
The signatories include Author and Scientist Anand Ranganathan (JNU), Prof Shri Prakash Singh (DU), Kanchan Gupta (Senior Journalist), Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (Senior Fellow, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies), J Sai Deepak (Advocate, Supreme Court), Guru Prakash (Department of Law, Patna University), Professor Ainul Hasan (Dean SLL & CS, JNU), Meenakshi Jain (Senior Fellow, ICSSR), Jiten Jain (Honorary Professor, Amity University), Dr Geeta Bhatt (Bhaskaracharya College, DU), Prof Chandan Chaube (DU), Prof Ajay Dubey (JNU) and Pranav Kumar (JNU) among others.
The statement has come amid the protests and violence in the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which was enacted as law on 12 December.
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