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A law that includes Citizenship Bill continues long tradition of welcoming persecuted minorities

First things first. The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is not about excluding anybody; it is about including some. It is an effort to grant citizenship to those minorities from erstwhile Pakistan — that now includes Pakistan and Bangladesh — and Afghanistan, who have come to India seeking refuge from religious persecution or the fear of it. The first time such refugees were included was immediately after Partition in the first census, which was also regarded as the National Register of Citizens.

Let’s remember that every time such refugees come to India and claim citizenship, the government has been issuing citizenship to them after the due process. There are a number of instances of religious minorities from these three countries coming over to India on religious visas and deciding to stay back because of the dangerous situations that existed back home. They include Sikhs from Afghanistan, Sindhis and SCs from Pakistan and Bengalis and tribals from Bangladesh.

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