Sweeping new bill favours non-Muslim refugees . . .
India is set to table its contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) – originally proposed in 2016 – at the winter session of the Indian Parliament. The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 and accommodate a fast-track process for non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to receive Indian citizenship. At the ongoing winter session, Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah, said that the CAB has no bearing on the National Register of Citizens, wherein citizens irrespective of their religion will be included on the list.
The story so far . . .
Since the national elections of May 2019, India’s Hindu-majority BJP government has been in the news for flouting the very principles upon which the country was built – equality, liberty, and justice. Recent headline-grabbing initiatives include the Indian government’s decision to reduce the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir into two lesser Union Territories reporting to the capital of New Delhi, and the recent Supreme Court of India’s ruling that will allow a Hindu temple to be built on the grounds of a demolished Muslim mosque at Ayodhya in the state of Uttar Pradesh. These and other developments seem to indicate a growing and strengthening trend of anti-Muslim sentiment in India.
Winds of change . . .
India, the most populous democracy in the world, has long been celebrated for its cultural diversity and political secularism. But recent actions by the national government indicate a shift with the past. As a key target market for Canada’s trade diversification strategy, Canada’s new federal cabinet will have its work cut out as it will need to navigate trade and investment engagement with an India that is displaying nationalistic tendencies increasingly contrary to Canadian values.