Afghanistan, Article 370 and CAA

As the world watches in horror while hordes of Afghan citizens including women and children flee their homeland to escape the Taliban rule, measures taken by the Modi Government in the past few years are now being seen in new light.

The argument which supports the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) along with the importance of abrogation of Article 370 are for all to see; even those who opposed CAA earlier are now doing a volte-face and asking for extension of cut-off date!

India the Civilizational State

Yesterday India witnessed yet another reclamation of  its civilization roots when 3 hand-written Swaroops of Shri Guru Grant Sahib ji was received at the New Delhi Airport by Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and V Muraleedharan. The revered history been brought along with Afghan Sikhs fleeing Taliban rule.

This sight of Union Ministers holding the Guru Grant Sahib reverentially on their heads moved the Nation and further established India as the ultimate civilizational state; also, the last refuge of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.

It is with this very intention that the CAA was enacted.  As we had mentioned in our previous articles, CAA is a pro-minority law which is tailored specifically for giving citizenship for religious prosecuted minorities of certain countries. People persecuted on grounds of their religion in countries which have state religion are being give citizenship.

But without realizing this, many eminent liberals accused that CAA was discriminatory and unconstitutional. Now after seeing the situation in Afghanistan unfold, many of those who opposed CAA have taken a sharp U-turn. They are not only conceding that is CAA needed, they’re demanding that its cut-off date be further extended!

In January of 2020, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) opposed CAA on grounds that the legislation drafted on religious lines was not acceptable.

But now Manjinder S Sirsa, President, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and SAD leader has requested Prime Minister to amend CAA and extend the cut-off date from 2014 to 2021 so that people escaping from Afghanistan can also avail it.

CAA does not discriminate against Muslims as Article 14 makes provision for “reasonable classification” wherein the principle of equality is relaxed. Thus, the principle of affirmative action or positive discrimination is possible if the criteria for classification is reasonable

All our policies for caste-based reservations, special rights to minorities in India are possible due to this reasonable classification Similarly, the persecuted minorities from these three nations form a reasonable classification, since all have faced systematic attacks, persecution and communal violence due to their presence in Islamic nations.

Another point to note here is that there is a fundamental difference between persecuted religious minorities and ethnic violence. Ahmediyas and Shias are victims of sectarian and ethnic violence which has nothing to do with religious persecution. Thus, they can’t be compared to persecuted religious minorities like Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians.

Moreover, from a legal point of view, if we include cases of ethnic violence along with religious persecution, it cannot be called as “reasonable classification” and will violate Article 14

Right Time to Stabilise Kashmir

Ideology of separatism which created schisms between J&K and the rest of India was nullified with the abrogation of Article 370. As our earlier article showed, remarkable progress has been made since abrogation of Article 370.

Against the backdrop of events in Afghanistan, a pre-5th August, 2019 Jammu and Kashmir would have been a very fertile ground for more instability in the region.

As Lt general Syed Ata Hasnain(Retired) wrote in Deccan Chronicle:

“Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at the end of 1979 that brought the mercenaries, often called jihadis, to Afghanistan under the sponsorship of the United States and Saudi Arabia. People unaware of the nuances of the issues in J&K over the last 30 years need to be informed that the original separatist movement of 1989 was largely indigenous and may have been controlled, but for the sudden availability of the mercenary jihadis freed from the war in Afghanistan…. 2021 is not 1989 either as far as the Line of Control is concerned. The counter-infiltration layout and network is smart, extensive, integrated and efficient.”

But now the situation in J&K has improved greatly, with incidences of terrorism seeing marked reduction and incidents of stone-pelting being reduced to negligible. Terror incidents reduced from 594 in 2019 to 244 in 2020 in Jammu and Kashmir

Anti-terror operations scaled up, with 221 terrorists neutralised in 2020 in comparison to 157 in 2019. Several J&K Government officials found with links with terrorist organisations have been sacked to strength the fight against terror

Indians definitely appreciate and applaud the foresightedness with which CAA was enacted and Article 370 was abrogated by the Modi Government.