The passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2019, by Parliament marks a turning point in the country’s history. If a partition was imposed on the country in 1947, it has now done it on itself. The CAB is a law that technically and legally purports to give citizenship to only those who have come fleeing from the neighbouring countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — but whose effect, by its deliberate exclusion of some of these migrants on the basis of religion, is to affect the same segregation on its citizens internally. The entire northeast, which will be directly and immediately affected by the Bill, has risen in protest against it, though the government tried to buy them off with some exceptions and concessions. It is for the entire country to resist the law, and to ensure that the secular core of the Constitution and the republic, founded on the equal protection and equality before the law of all within its territory, survives this assault on it.
Ansari Tarique, Bengaluru