• Arwa Hanin Elrayess

India's Citizenship Amendment Act: Discrimination or Justice?

India’s recent amendment of the Citizenship Act (or CAA) has triggered violent unrest among national and international audience.


Protests began with University students, who found the amendment discriminatory, and have since ignited a series of similar rallies across the country.


Aggression during these protests and police brutality have left tens of people dead, thousands detained, and hundreds of thousands enraged.


Below is an article clearing up all misconceptions and simplifying everything you need to know about this situation.


What is the CAA?


The ‘Citizenship Amendment Act’ was established to grant faster Indian citizenship to religiously persecuted individuals seeking refuge from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before 31 December 2014.


This law applies to any individual, from any faith, except those who follow Islam.


University students protesting against the CAA

Why was the Act Amended in the first place?


Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh are predominantly Muslim countries. Other religions, such as Christianity and Hinduism, are considered minorities.


In some cases, citizens who follow these different faiths have been persecuted and discriminated against, leading them to seek refuge in India.


The Citizenship Amendment Act was made for those facing extinction-level persecution from these Islamic states


The act excludes Muslims since Muslim citizens, coming from these Islamic states, are most likely not facing extinction-level persecution.


A common misconception is that this law prohibits Muslims from ever attaining the Indian citizenship, which is not the case.


Muslims can still apply for citizenship and seek refuge in India through the existing standard process.


If that’s the case, why are people protesting?


Even though the law itself does not seem too unjust, citizens fear that it may be the first step in a larger plan that aims to wipe out the Muslim population in India.


The minority Muslim population in India have long been targeted and harassed by the Hindu nationalist government and treated as second-class citizens.


By excluding Muslims from this new law, the government has further enforced the idea that Muslims are unwelcome, unwanted and not a part of the Indian population.


Furthermore, if refugees from every other religion except Islam were granted swift citizenship, their minorities would grow and flourish, but the Muslim minority would become even smaller.


This makes it easier for the government to begin removing Muslims from India, similar to the Muslim genocide in Myanmar.


Additionally, other protesters fear that this act would alter the region's demographic balance, resulting in a loss of their political rights, culture, and land.


The Protests


During these protests, hundreds were injured, shot or forcefully detained.


Several Muslims have claimed that police ‘attacked them’ in their own homes and ‘after prayer.


Members of a fact-finding team, say that police ‘are carrying out a reign of terror on Muslim communities.’



The police denied these claims, stating that any actions they took were out of self-defense.



Today, Civil rights groups are demanding the immediate release of innocent protesters arrested by police.


Others want Supreme Court judges to oversee an investigation into allegations of police brutality.

Do you think that this law is a part of a bigger, more vicious, plan against the Muslim community, or is it a completely humane and acceptable solution to the hundreds of persecuted refugees?


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