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'CAA has got nothing to do with Muslim community'

March 13, 2024 08:00 IST

'Nowhere does the CAA state that Muslims will be deprived of their Indian citizenship.'

IMAGE: Sindhi refugees celebrate after the government notified rules for implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, Bhopal, March 12, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

When virtually the entire Muslim community has stood up against the recently notified Citizenship Amendment Act, Maulana Shahabuddin Razvi Barelvi, president of the All India Muslim Jamaat, has come out openly in support of CAA.

The CAA will provide Indian citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.


The community feels that the CAA is one of the ploys to deprive Indian Muslims of their citizenship.

Ever since the bill was brought in Parliament in 2019 it has divided the country but on Monday, with weeks to go for general elections, the Modi government went ahead and notified the CAA, thus marking its implementation.

“In the past years it has been seen that there were protests, it was because of misunderstandings. Some political people created misunderstandings among the Muslims... Every Muslim of India should welcome the CAA...” Barelvi was quoted as saying by ANI.

Syed Firdaus Ashraf/ spoke to Maulana Shahabuddin Razvi Barelvi on why he supports CA.

When the Muslim community by and large is opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act, why are you supporting it?

Whatever I have read about the CAA I do not think there is anything in it against the Indian Muslim community. Therefore, I stated that Muslims need not fear CAA.

CAA has got nothing to do with the Muslim community.

India's Constitution is secular in character and it clearly states that no person will be discriminated against on the basis religion, etc. Now if you exclude only Muslim refugees from CAA, don't you feel that this puts a question mark on India's secularism? It violates Article 14 which says 'the State will not deny any person equality before the law within the territory of India'?

CAA only talks of giving citizenship to outsiders, not Indians.

CAA talks about giving citizenship to people of only three countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It speaks about non-Muslim citizens of those countries who have been staying in India for very long without citizenship. These people will be given citizenship under CAA.

Nowhere does the CAA state that Muslims will be deprived of their Indian citizenship. If there is any line written in CAA that Muslims' citizenship will be withdrawn, please show me. If it is written so, then I will withdraw my statement.

The problem with CAA is the statement of Home Minister Amit Shah who made the famous statement of “chronology” -- that NRC (National Register of Citizens) will follow CAA which will then be a problem for Indian Muslims because if they do not have proper documentation, they will be sent to detention centres.

You are not asking questions like a journalist but are hell bent on arguing against the CAA.

I am only stating that nowhere is it written in CAA that Indian Muslims will be deprived of their citizenship. If that is the case show me the proof, then I will raise this question with Home Minister Amit Shah about CAA.

Do you believe the National Population Registry is coming soon as it is delayed by four years now due to COVID?

I am not the Government of India, I am talking about CAA only.

I am seeing the documents of CAA right now which is in front of me and whatever I said, I stand by my statement that Muslims will not be deprived of their Indian citizenship due to CAA.

Okay, now let me put it to you the other way round. When Assam got NRC, Bangladeshi Hindus and Bangladeshi Muslims were detected in the state. Now if you are a Bangladeshi Hindu, you will get Indian citizenship thanks to CAA. But if you are a Bangladeshi Muslim, then you go to detention camp.

Now if a poor Assamese Indian Muslim who has no paper with him like Aadhar or Indian passport for reason like his house had caught fire, don't you think he too will end up in detention center thanks to CAA which discriminates against Muslims?

You go back in history and listen to what Home Minister Amit Shah said in Parliament. He said very clearly regarding NRC that no one will be asked to show any papers. Ghulam Nabi Azad then intervened and said he did not hear what Amit Shah said and told him to repeat his words. Amit Shah clearly said no one will be asked to show papers regarding NRC. He repeated this statement three times in Parliament.

Don't you feel you are missing the chronology point of CAA, National Population Registry (NPR) to be followed by NRC? Will Indian Muslims not be asked to show their documents under NPR?

How can I say what kind of documents will be asked at that time? I am only saying about CAA and whatever I have read about CAA, it has got nothing against Indian Muslims.

In future, what kind of bills will be produced I don't know. I don't have such prophecy on what is going to happen in future. I am only talking about the present and that is CAA.

Ahmadiyya Muslims are being harassed in Pakistan and when Pakistani citizens want a passport they have to declare that Ahmadiyya Muslims are 'kafirs' (external link). Don't you think they too deserved to be in CAA just like Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains, Christians and Buddhists?

(Hangs up the phone).

Syed Firdaus Ashraf