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PIB’s CAB #MythBuster attempt busted

In the run up to the tabling of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2019 in the Rajya Sabha, the Press Information Bureau, released a series of posts via social media called “Myth Busters” pertaining to the bill.

Sabrangindia 12 Dec 2019

PIB

The Press Information Bureau (PIB) recently took to social media to release a series of “Myth Busters” related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) that was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday night. The PIB works under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and disseminates information about the policies, decisions & programs of the Government of India. Naturally, it is expected that the PIB puts out news that shows the government in good light and highlights all the achievements of the government.

However, the government took it one step forward and issued a series a posts that would influence general public and effectively show the dissenters in bad light. The ‘myths’ that the PIB attempts to bust in these posts, amount to little more than the government’s propaganda, an attempt to stifle criticism and generate public support for this anti-secular agenda.  Here's a closer look at these “facts”, where it becomes evident that there is little more to the "myth-busters" than being a devious ploy to mislead people.

Myth No. 1: CAB will provide citizenship to Bengali Hindus

PIB’s explanation

PIB states that government has proposed the CAB on extremely humanitarian grounds, as these minorities had fled from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh due to persecution on grounds of their religion and CAB is merely an enabling legislation and does not automatically confer citizenship.

The real deal

While, the latter part of the above explanation is technically correct, but fails to address crucial issues. Bengali Hindus are also Hindus and the bill categorically and specifically states that it will grant citizenship to Hindus (and other non-Muslim communities) even if they are illegal migrants. This is in fact one of the reasons why there is so much turmoil in Assam right now as the provisions of CAB appear to negate the provisions of the 1985 Assam Accord that deals with the influx of all ‘foreigners’ from Bangladesh.


Myth No. 2: CAB dilutes ‘Assam Accord’

PIB’s explanation

This one is a rather bold explanation given by PIB. It says, “CAB does not dilute the sanctity of Assam Accord as far as the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, stipulated for detection / deportation of illegal immigrants, is concerned’.

The real deal

This is patently untrue as the Assam Accord makes provisions of Bengali refugees who arrived before the cut-off date of March 24, 1971 when the war began. But CAB proposes to naturalise even those who came after this cut-off and kept arriving till December 31, 2014. The concerns of the Assam Accord is not along communal lines, and granting Bengali Hindus citizenship defeats the whole purpose of the Assam Accord.


Myth No. 3

CAB is against the interest of indigenous people of Assam

PIB’s explanation

PIB says that CAB is not centred around Assam and is applicable to the whole country. It further states, “CAB is definitely not against National Register od Citizens/NRC, which is being updated to protect indigenous communities from illegal immigrants.”

The real deal

This is just another attempt to first single out only Muslim migrants as illegal and then pit indigenous communities against them. This is a chilling callback to the 1983 Nellie massacre where indigenous tribals attacked and killed Muslim villagers in large numbers.


Myth No. 4

CAB will lead to domination of Bengali speaking people

PIB’s explanation

“Most of the Hindu Bengali population is settled in Barak valley of Assam, where Bengali is declared the 2nd state language. In Brahmaputra Valley, Hindu Bengalis are settled in isolated pockets and have adapted themselves to Assamese language.”

The real deal

Again, while on the surface, the response is factual it fails to address deeper concerns about the changes in demography. Comparing the census data of 2001 and 2011, Assamese share in population grew by 16.03% while the share of Bengali speaking population grew by 22.89%. Where the Bengali Hindus live in the state is hardly the point.


Myth No. 5

Bengali Hindus will become a burden for Assam

PIB’s explanation

PIB states that ‘persons facing religious persecution’ are settled in other parts of the country as well and not just Assam and CAB is applicable to the whole country.

The real deal

Firstly, the government has assumed for all intents and purposes that all illegal immigrants have come to India only because they have faced religious persecution in their home country while one of the main reasons for migration is economic. Ethno-linguistic chauvinist groups in Assam have always maintained that the influx of Bengali Hindus have taken away economic opportunities in the state. Therefore, merely saying CAB affects the rest of the country as well is so consolation to these groups, whose contention whether right or wrong, cannot be ignored given how they were and still are at the forefront of demonstrations against any influx of Bengali migrants, Hindu or Muslim.


Myth No. 6

CAB will trigger fresh migration of Hindus from Bangladesh

PIB’s explanation

PIB claims that most of the minorities have already migrated out of Bangladesh and large-scale migration is a remote possibility. It also claims that scale of atrocities on minorities in Bangladesh has been reducing. It also mentions the cut-off date is 31st December 2014 for granting citizenship and hence immigrants entering after that date will not get benefit of the law.

The real deal

While prima facie, this is also factual, it fails to take into account the persecution of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh after 2014. If CAB is based on compassionate and humanitarian grounds, what’s stopping it from accepting these persecuted Hindus? Reports suggest that Bangladesh’s census of 2011 Hindus population there is at 8.5% which is still the largest minority group in Bangladesh. There were also reports that in 2018, 1,792 persecutions took place on minorities in 11 months in Bangladesh, as claimed by Hindu Alliance.


Myth No. 7

CAB is a ploy to grab tribal land by accommodating Hindu Bengalis

PIB’s explanation

PIB claims that Hindus Bengalis are settled away from tribal belts and blocks and also CAB does not contradict any laws for protection of tribal lands. It also states that CAB is not applicable in ILP (Inner Line Permit) and 6th schedule areas

The real deal

The government has not revealed what its actual plan of action is when it comes to application of CAB and eventually the nationwide NRC that will also cover Assam. There have also been protests by the tribals across the country about ineffective and in some states non-implementation of the Forest Rights Act. Hence, the concerns of the tribals cannot be disregarded completely.


Myth No. 8

CAB is discriminatory against Muslims

PIB’s explanation

PIB states that any foreigner of any religion and any country can apply for citizenship in India as per other provisions of Citizenship Act. It states that CAB is only an enabling legislation providing citizenship to 6 minority communities if they meet the criteria.

The real deal

The main contention against CAB is that it specifically excludes Muslims. The fact that Muslims can apply through other provisions of the act is no compensation for the fact that CAB is discriminatory and allows people of 6 faiths, except Muslims to get citizenship in India and it remains a fact that Muslim migrants will be labelled as illegal migrants while migrants from the other 6 communities will not. That in itself makes CAB discriminatory against Muslims.


Related:

PIB’s #MythBuster attempt busted
Assam engulfed in smoke as protests rage on
Massive Protests against CAB in Aligarh
Calls for Civil Disobedience against CAB
Citizenship Amendment Bill: Unconstitutional and Divisive

 

 

PIB’s CAB #MythBuster attempt busted

In the run up to the tabling of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2019 in the Rajya Sabha, the Press Information Bureau, released a series of posts via social media called “Myth Busters” pertaining to the bill.

PIB

The Press Information Bureau (PIB) recently took to social media to release a series of “Myth Busters” related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) that was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday night. The PIB works under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and disseminates information about the policies, decisions & programs of the Government of India. Naturally, it is expected that the PIB puts out news that shows the government in good light and highlights all the achievements of the government.

However, the government took it one step forward and issued a series a posts that would influence general public and effectively show the dissenters in bad light. The ‘myths’ that the PIB attempts to bust in these posts, amount to little more than the government’s propaganda, an attempt to stifle criticism and generate public support for this anti-secular agenda.  Here's a closer look at these “facts”, where it becomes evident that there is little more to the "myth-busters" than being a devious ploy to mislead people.

Myth No. 1: CAB will provide citizenship to Bengali Hindus

PIB’s explanation

PIB states that government has proposed the CAB on extremely humanitarian grounds, as these minorities had fled from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh due to persecution on grounds of their religion and CAB is merely an enabling legislation and does not automatically confer citizenship.

The real deal

While, the latter part of the above explanation is technically correct, but fails to address crucial issues. Bengali Hindus are also Hindus and the bill categorically and specifically states that it will grant citizenship to Hindus (and other non-Muslim communities) even if they are illegal migrants. This is in fact one of the reasons why there is so much turmoil in Assam right now as the provisions of CAB appear to negate the provisions of the 1985 Assam Accord that deals with the influx of all ‘foreigners’ from Bangladesh.


Myth No. 2: CAB dilutes ‘Assam Accord’

PIB’s explanation

This one is a rather bold explanation given by PIB. It says, “CAB does not dilute the sanctity of Assam Accord as far as the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, stipulated for detection / deportation of illegal immigrants, is concerned’.

The real deal

This is patently untrue as the Assam Accord makes provisions of Bengali refugees who arrived before the cut-off date of March 24, 1971 when the war began. But CAB proposes to naturalise even those who came after this cut-off and kept arriving till December 31, 2014. The concerns of the Assam Accord is not along communal lines, and granting Bengali Hindus citizenship defeats the whole purpose of the Assam Accord.


Myth No. 3

CAB is against the interest of indigenous people of Assam

PIB’s explanation

PIB says that CAB is not centred around Assam and is applicable to the whole country. It further states, “CAB is definitely not against National Register od Citizens/NRC, which is being updated to protect indigenous communities from illegal immigrants.”

The real deal

This is just another attempt to first single out only Muslim migrants as illegal and then pit indigenous communities against them. This is a chilling callback to the 1983 Nellie massacre where indigenous tribals attacked and killed Muslim villagers in large numbers.


Myth No. 4

CAB will lead to domination of Bengali speaking people

PIB’s explanation

“Most of the Hindu Bengali population is settled in Barak valley of Assam, where Bengali is declared the 2nd state language. In Brahmaputra Valley, Hindu Bengalis are settled in isolated pockets and have adapted themselves to Assamese language.”

The real deal

Again, while on the surface, the response is factual it fails to address deeper concerns about the changes in demography. Comparing the census data of 2001 and 2011, Assamese share in population grew by 16.03% while the share of Bengali speaking population grew by 22.89%. Where the Bengali Hindus live in the state is hardly the point.


Myth No. 5

Bengali Hindus will become a burden for Assam

PIB’s explanation

PIB states that ‘persons facing religious persecution’ are settled in other parts of the country as well and not just Assam and CAB is applicable to the whole country.

The real deal

Firstly, the government has assumed for all intents and purposes that all illegal immigrants have come to India only because they have faced religious persecution in their home country while one of the main reasons for migration is economic. Ethno-linguistic chauvinist groups in Assam have always maintained that the influx of Bengali Hindus have taken away economic opportunities in the state. Therefore, merely saying CAB affects the rest of the country as well is so consolation to these groups, whose contention whether right or wrong, cannot be ignored given how they were and still are at the forefront of demonstrations against any influx of Bengali migrants, Hindu or Muslim.


Myth No. 6

CAB will trigger fresh migration of Hindus from Bangladesh

PIB’s explanation

PIB claims that most of the minorities have already migrated out of Bangladesh and large-scale migration is a remote possibility. It also claims that scale of atrocities on minorities in Bangladesh has been reducing. It also mentions the cut-off date is 31st December 2014 for granting citizenship and hence immigrants entering after that date will not get benefit of the law.

The real deal

While prima facie, this is also factual, it fails to take into account the persecution of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh after 2014. If CAB is based on compassionate and humanitarian grounds, what’s stopping it from accepting these persecuted Hindus? Reports suggest that Bangladesh’s census of 2011 Hindus population there is at 8.5% which is still the largest minority group in Bangladesh. There were also reports that in 2018, 1,792 persecutions took place on minorities in 11 months in Bangladesh, as claimed by Hindu Alliance.


Myth No. 7

CAB is a ploy to grab tribal land by accommodating Hindu Bengalis

PIB’s explanation

PIB claims that Hindus Bengalis are settled away from tribal belts and blocks and also CAB does not contradict any laws for protection of tribal lands. It also states that CAB is not applicable in ILP (Inner Line Permit) and 6th schedule areas

The real deal

The government has not revealed what its actual plan of action is when it comes to application of CAB and eventually the nationwide NRC that will also cover Assam. There have also been protests by the tribals across the country about ineffective and in some states non-implementation of the Forest Rights Act. Hence, the concerns of the tribals cannot be disregarded completely.


Myth No. 8

CAB is discriminatory against Muslims

PIB’s explanation

PIB states that any foreigner of any religion and any country can apply for citizenship in India as per other provisions of Citizenship Act. It states that CAB is only an enabling legislation providing citizenship to 6 minority communities if they meet the criteria.

The real deal

The main contention against CAB is that it specifically excludes Muslims. The fact that Muslims can apply through other provisions of the act is no compensation for the fact that CAB is discriminatory and allows people of 6 faiths, except Muslims to get citizenship in India and it remains a fact that Muslim migrants will be labelled as illegal migrants while migrants from the other 6 communities will not. That in itself makes CAB discriminatory against Muslims.


Related:

PIB’s #MythBuster attempt busted
Assam engulfed in smoke as protests rage on
Massive Protests against CAB in Aligarh
Calls for Civil Disobedience against CAB
Citizenship Amendment Bill: Unconstitutional and Divisive

 

 

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