Guterres on Indian Muslims rights
In an exclusive interview with a private TV Channel, United Nations Secretary General Anonio Guterres has expressed deep concern over the enforcement of largely anti-Muslim Citizen Amendment Act ( CAA) of 2019 in India. The law is certainly impinging on the constitutional rights and social status of largest Muslim minority living there. The draconian law was passed by the Indian Parliament in November last year, which grants citizenship rights to Hindus who have been migrated to India till 2015 from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh but the same right is denied to the migrants of other minorities such as Buddhist, and Parsees.
UN Secretary General said that (CAA) creates a “risk of statelessness” for 200 million people of Muslim origin. He categorically said that he is personally concerned against the rising discrimination the Muslims will face in India, arguing that whenever nationality laws are changed efforts are taken to avoid statelessness and to ensure that every citizen of the world is also a citizen of a country. The contents of CAA have been analysed by legal experts and critically commented both in Western and Asian press as the law can be used to imprison or deport some members of Muslims minority who have remained active and vocal in politics social fabric of India. That is why the enforcement of CAA was followed by wide spread protests against including the women protest and hunger strike in Shaheen Bagh of New Delhi.
The new Law can be used a legal tool to deprive millions of people from citizenship rights and deport them to neighbouring countries. In the state of Asam alone 2 million Muslims were excluded from the citizens list in August last year which makes up one third of the state’s population. This sort of discriminatory actions may continue. The law put a seal of approval on this inhuman action with retrospective effect. BJP government has institutionalized hate against Muslims in the Indian society, be it incidents of cow vigilantism by extremist Hindus in front of police or the recent decision of Indian Supreme Court in Babri Mosque case in Ajodhya. The Supreme Court of India ruled in favour of Hindus to construct Ram Temple on the site of historic Babri Mosque which had been demolished by Hindu mob consisting of workers of RSS, Wishwa Hindu Parishad and BJP in 1992. The mob was also led by some extremist BJP leaders. A retired Judge of Indian Supreme Court Justice A.K Ganguli criticised the verdict of the Apex Court being against the rule of law and constitution.
The CAA has been challenged in the Indian Supreme Court but the court declined the petitioner pray for grant of stay against the operation of this law and asked the government to submit a reply. It indicates that the court may not strike down this anti-Muslims law.
Ever since the enactment of this Muslim ‘specific law and before its passage the annexation of Indian held Kashmir, Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly sensitised the international community and the OIC member countries about the dangers of RSS supremacist agenda being implemented by the BJP government to do ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Muslims and marginalisation of Muslims living in India. But response to this human rights issue is not encouraging one. From among OIC member countries leadership of Malaysia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have spoken against the enforcement anti-Muslim legislation in India. The response of Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohammd was clear, critical and strong which invited sharp reaction from BJP government of India, directing massive curtailment of Palm oil imports from Malaysia. On the other hand, the silence of majority OIC members and particularly the oil rich Arab countries is disappointing, giving total precedence to their trade relations with India over the rights of Muslims in India and occupied Kashmir. The concern shown by UN Secretary General on situation in the Indian held Kashmir and enforcement of CAA needs to be taken seriously by the international community including the majority docile members of OIC.