Here we repost the International Migrant Alliance, Canada chapter’s statement on the CAB in India in solidarity with the growing movement against Hindutva fascism in India and the Indian diaspora in Canada.
On December 11, the parliament of India, led by the far-right Hindu nationalist Bharatya Janata Party (BJP), passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). The CAB grants Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians who migrated to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution, but excludes Muslims and effectively prohibits them from applying for citizenship.
The Indian government argues that Muslims were not included in the act because Muslims from predominantly Muslim countries could not have faced religious persecution and hence they are economic migrants coming to India by choice. However, the bill does not cover nearly 60,000 Tamil Hindus, Christians, and Muslims who fled Sri Lanka during the civil war due to prosecution based on nationality, as well as a large population of Rohingya Muslims who came to India from neighbouring Myanmar fleeing religious persecution by the Buddhists.
To further crack down on Muslim migrants and undocumented migrants in general, the BJP politicians are seeking to implement the draconian National Citizenship Register nationwide to strengthen its border regime and Hindu supremacy over religious minorities. The NCR was originally implemented in Assam (a border state of India), and it rendered nearly 2 million of its residents stateless.
The people’s resistance
Since the passing of the CAB, tens and thousands of people have taken to the streets to denounce it as anti-Muslim and unconstitutional. The Indian police responded with severe repression, including the use of live ammunition, and outright outlawing of the protests in the so-called “world’s largest democracy.” As a result of the repression, at least 8 people have been killed, hundreds have been injured, and hundreds more detained.
International Migrants Alliance – Canada Chapter strongly condemns the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the National Citizenship Register as reactionary anti-people measures endangering the lives of migrants and refugees.
We recognize that these measures are part of the fascist Hindutva movement to build a theocratic state. This is part of the global resurgence of fascism, in which the CAB is a regional equivalent of Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies. It is no coincidence that the Indian state has mass detention centres and concentration camps specifically designed for undocumented migrants.
We also recognize that the millions of people from predominantly Muslim countries are not simply displaced by religious prosecution. They are victimized by imperialist wars and proxy wars, and and continue to be persecuted in the countries they flee to.
Canada’s “people-to-people” ties
On December 19, 2019, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne met with its Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Ottawa to discuss their “shared commitment to democracy as well as close people-to-people ties.” This is in spite of intensifying Islamophobia and anti-migrant racism in India, condoned and legislated by the Indian government.
We reject Canada and India’s claim as “partners in democracy” is illusory as both countries continue to exclude migrants and refugees from decision-making, and violate their human rights through measures such as the CAB and Safe Third Country Agreement. Both countries engage in paralleling crimes, the colonial oppression of Indigenous peoples and the occupation of Kashmir.
IMA Canada stands in solidarity with the youths, students, workers, and members of Muslim and migrant communities in India who are risking their lives to oppose the CAB & NCR. We support the struggles of migrants, refugees, and allies everywhere fighting back against imperialism and fascism. Through international solidarity and diligent grassroots organizing, we can build a world where no one is forced to migrate and be prosecuted for their faith.
Down with the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the National Citizenship Register!
Down with Islamophobia!
Long live international solidarity!
Viviana Medina, International Coordinating Body Member