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CAB: BJP sows seeds of strife across South Asia

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Both Houses of Parliament earlier this week approved the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill after some Opposition resistance in the Upper House. The Janata Dal (United), which rules Bihar in alliance with the BJP, and the Biju Janata Dal, ruling Odisha, betrayed their origins and the core philosophies of their founders by backing the government. Home minister Amit Shah, replying to the Opposition criticism, justified the bill as necessary to alleviate the religious persecution of minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Diplomatic implications evaded him in tarring three nations with the same brush, quoting incidents ad nauseum from Afghanistan under the Taliban, deposed in 2001, Bangladesh under non-Awami League governments or even acknowledging that Pakistan’s Sunni radical evangelism persecutes Islamic groups like the Shias and even more so the 10-20 million Ahmadiyyas.

The amendment breaches not only Article 14 of the Constitution, on which the Supreme Court will rule, but even international human rights law as it has evolved since the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Indian delegates helped frame that declaration, which remains the bedrock of international human rights law. Although driven by the disruption of European populations during World War II, India’s Constitution, adopted in 1950, reflects it in letter and spirit. Hence, equality of treatment under Article 14 is not extended merely to Indian citizens but any “person”. Therefore, even though India did not sign the 1951 Refugee Convention or the additional protocol of 1967, which universalised its application beyond Europe, India is bound by its spirit, if not its letter, as it is grounded in Article 14 of the........

© Deccan Chronicle