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Op-Ed: India's Citizenship Amendment Act from the Eyes of a Student

Insha Maqbool | Jantar Mantar, Dehli, India

A few months after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the government of India came with another sequel of the "unsecularism". From the first day of the abrogation of Article 370 (05 August 2019), many Kashmiris have not gone to their schools, colleges, and universities even until now (23 December 2019).

The students of Kashmir are suffering badly, they are the worst hit victims of the conflict.


The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, was passed by the Parliament of India on 11 December 2019. It amended the Citizenship Act of 1955 by providing a path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Busdhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities fleeing persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afganistan. Muslims were not given such eligibility. The Act was the first time religion has been used as a criterion for citizenship under Indian Law.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register of all Indian citizens whose creation is mandated by The Citizenship Act 1955, as amended in 2003. It has first been implemented for the state of Assam in India  between the years 2013–2014. The government plans to implement it for the rest of India in 2021.

After passing the CAA bill, students from all over India started to protest against this bill. Because this bill is totally unsecular, the government is trying to sideline a particular community of India which is against the Constitution of India."WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a 1 [SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC] and to secure to all its citizens:", these are the opening lines of Constitution of India, and it is self-explanatory. The Government of India is not even allowing the students to protest, when they should have the freedom to put forward their argument against these Bills. The students of Jamia Milia Islamia (a university) were beaten by the police, and the police even entered the Campus and library of the university. They beat up students inside the university as well. Students of India have lots of questions which need to be answered without any delay, like why are these bills not including Muslims? Why are they unsecular?

Students also claim that under NRC, why are we supposed to show our birth certificates. We are born here in India so why is this Government trying make people uncomfortable with these alienating acts? The beauty of these protests is that no matter which background the protesters are from, they are attending protests with the posters that say statements like "jab hindu muslim raazi, kya kare ga naazi", " keep calm and protect minorities".

Lots of students have been detained from different universities across India. One of India's brilliant historians and intellectuals Ramachandra Guha was also detained by the police on 19 December for protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act in Bangaluru. The CAA and the protests following it raise important questions about the state of secularism and freedom of speech in India.

Note from the editors: News outlets around the world are covering the protests currently taking place. Here are a few sources with more information:


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