22 Dec 2019  |   06:03am IST

Goa reacts to the Citizenship Amendment Act

Against the backdrop of protests across the country to the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Goans too came out on the streets to voice their opposition on the same. At the same time, there are those who have come out in support of CAA. Team Herald shares the views of locals across the State on the new Act
Goa reacts to the Citizenship Amendment Act

The Act is draconian as it tears into the democratic fabric of the constitution. The details as explained by law veterans are a shocker to Goans holding Portuguese passport. The NRC with detention centres reminds one of similar situation the German Jews were subjected to under Hitler. There the detention centres turned into concentration camps.

—Joe Rose, senior tiatrist   

I personally have not read the act but with whatever explanation home minister has given in Lok Sabha, it’s in the interest of the country! No Indian citizen has to worry about this act!

—Dr Shekhar Salkar

CAA is humanitarian in nature. It would give citizenship to those who were forced out of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on the basis of religion. It would also prove helpful in identifying terrorist who have penetrated in the society under the disguise of immigrants.

 Though I am in favour of CAA, I feel terrible seeing the havoc that has shook the country under the influence of misleading information or news. The CAA is for betterment of not just Indians but humanity. The violence caused is unnecessary.

—Saiee Dhargalkar, Student

History of India is of kindness and acceptance. For thousands of years it has seen so many kingdoms. But yet there is always a feeling of 'oneness'. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have always been unstable nations because of hyper involvement of religious powers. The fight for religious supremacy has made the lives of minorities there very difficult. India is the only hope for those refugees to ask for shelter. And it's pretty natural to welcome them with warm heart on the basis of humanity.

I fully support CAA.

—Dheeraj Sawant, Teacher

By bringing Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) into this country, government is trying to do politics of divide and rule. The government should focus on developing and stabilising the existing population first. Why do we need to bring people from outside nation to our country, he questioned. We need our constitutional rights and we don’t want changes in it. It is visible that efforts are being made to divide nation on the basis of religion which should not have happened.

—Nazir Khan, politician

 

CAA guarantees citizenship to illegal immigrants from three neighboring countries only on the basis of the religion. There is uproar in Assam because it violates the Assam Accord of 1985, which ensures that outsiders will not be residents of the State in order to safeguard that culture, which will be jeopardized by CAA. Meanwhile, CAA across India will create chaos. While people from other religions who are unable to prove citizenship in NRC can obtain the citizens through CAA, Muslims will be left out as CAA clearly excludes Muslims from the bill. Therefore, the CAA is combination with NRC directly attacks a single community in India.

—Aftab Shaikh

CAA is a good move by the Indian government in providing citizenship to immigrants who have settled in India due to various reasons. This act relaxes the conditions set to the Act of 1955, thus giving a fair opportunity for immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have lived in India but do not have any identity. However this amendment does not take into consideration the Muslim migrants from the three countries. This in return challenges the point of equality. It has also disturbed the peace and harmony in North East where people fear that this amendment will have a large scale impact on their culture and diversity.

 —Anjali Pillamar

Everyone has their own version. This amendment provides a path to Indian Citizenship for minorities who were forced or compelled to seek shelter in India due to persecution. Large scale protest and violence indicate that people have not either properly understood the merits of CAA or misunderstood. As far as the allegation of violation of right to equality is concerned, the constitution guarantees right to equality to its citizens, not to non-citizens. Let's first identify who are Indians and who are eligible to be Indian. If you are an Indian, you have nothing to worry and inversely if you are worried, you may not be Indian.

—Rameshwari Morajkar, Lawyer

We support secular fabric of our country. No one should be cornered on the basis of religion. Injustice on minorities or on any religion will not be tolerated by the people of this country. This Act will destroy the peace, harmony and unity of India. I condemn the brutal and inhuman attacks that took place on young student protesters and other protestors who are fighting in a democratic way to save our Constitution. Article 15 deals with the fundamental rights of each citizen. It secures them from all kinds of discrimination by the State on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, and place of birth or any of them.

—Amarnath Panjikar, Teacher

I cannot accept the Act, which will divide us. Citizenship Amendment Act is not the right act for a secular country like India. Our country has maintained its secularism at all cost. The Act has been brought to divide and rule. In India, we cannot afford to give citizenship on religion. All religions have equal rights. As a secular individual, I say a big no to this divisive act.

—Abhijit Dessai, Panch member

There is no harm in having the act enacted to avoid illegal immigration and immigrants into the country. The immigration is putting stress on economy due to swelling of population without any income to government. It should be used as a tool and not a weapon.

—Vasudev Parab

Implementation of this Citizen Amendment Act in our country is a requirement. This act should have been bought long back but the previous government neglected it. This Act should be implemented as soon as possible without any further amendment and without bowing to opposition or political pressure. Similarly, NRC should be a law in Goa.

—Swaroop Naik

There’s nothing wrong in CAA. What I can understand from it is that it won’t take anyone’s citizenship right. This act has been brought to give citizenship rights to minorities and refugees from country like Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. On the humanitarian ground, I do not think anything is wrong or that there is any danger for any religious or linguistics minorities of India. The government must clarify if people are having doubts. Some are being misled by politicians.

  They should be made aware about this Act. We must show big heart and accept CAA. I personally do not think that there is any threat to democracy and secularism.

—Vrushabh Dessai, Student

CAA today is the most contentious issue of Indian politics. The Act does not include Muslims. This by itself violates the constitution as religion is used as a criterion for citizenship for the first time. The Act sticks out like a sore thumb because it runs contrary to what values and principles of our constitution stand for. Our constitution treats all the individuals equal. It prohibits any form of discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth by virtue of Article 15. The Amendment Act affects the very secular nature of our country, in which people of all religions are living with a sense of brotherhood.

—Akshada Dessai

The CAA bill needs explanation. I am not against giving citizenship rights to refugees and minorities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan but the government needs to clarify as to how it will accommodate those who enter India from other countries. Our own citizens are facing an employment problem. There are hundreds of problems that we, the original citizens, are facing.

  The government is not in a position to provide them essential needs. When we ourselves are facing such problems, then what is the reason to invite more problems? I think government must concentrate more on Indian citizens instead of others.

—Niteen Gaunekar, Businessman

I am against politicization of CAA and NRC bill. I do support stopping the illegal immigrants from other countries. But it should be done in a different way so as to not to cause any inconvenience to people of this country who have proper documents. We can't ask a person to provide papers from their grandparents. Also we can't kick out the masses of people who have already settled down here since years and cannot discriminate on basis of religion.

But also we have to make sure the protests are held in a peaceful ways. We should follow the way of resistance shown to us by our father of nation Mahatma Gandhi

—Vikas Bhagat, Social activist

Every year many illegal immigrants are coming from Pakistan and Bangladesh. They are involved in terror activities and criminal activities. Every country is stopping illegal immigrants. What's wrong if India is doing same? If you are really talented and honestly want to live in India then come with proper channel. India always welcomes talented people.

—Suraj Pawar

The question to be asked here is whether one gets benefits like citizenship or welfare schemes based on religion or based on eligibility or talent? There are many protests all over India because as per Constitutional law analysis, this Act takes away the basic principle of secularism. Right to freedom of religion is something that is Supreme law of the land, i.e. the Constitution abides by. If I am a Hindu from any of the countries mentioned in the Act, I will get Citizenship or else I land nowhere is in itself arbitrary in nature. Any law or Act has to pass the constitutional test. Does this act protect or destroy that right?

—Angela De Souza, Advocate

The question that comes to our mind is, was this CAA needed at this juncture? As we are going through severe economic crisis, unemployment and many more issues.... First let's feed the hungry people; provide better medical and educational facilities to us.

I have to prove myself an Indian? There might be two percent illegal immigrants in India, to throw them out you are asking 98% Indians to prove that they are Indians? Use your intelligence to find them out.

—Jack Fernandes, Social activist

CAA combined with NRC is a sure shot recipe for disaster for entire nation. Goans will be the worst hit, as those who can effectively demonstrate, through proper documentary trail, their family tree or hereditary have by now already acquired Portuguese Passport and thus will now be treated as foreign national under these acts. Not just them but their entire surviving family might face the risk of being stamped as foreign national and sent to detention centres. Also the indigenous communities of Goa, who do not have adequate access to safe drinking water and food even today, from where are they going to get the requisite documents to demonstrate their citizenship?

—Swapnesh Sherlekar, social activist

NRC or CAA, neither should affect the Indians like us. The act is much discussed and debated and now protested too but there has to be some conclusion as we can't stay in a state of civil war like situation with the economy already crying out for help.

—Gaurang Kunkolienkar

As someone who grew up feeling proud as a citizen of a country that was founded on the principles of being sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic, I stand today in utter shock and disbelief that the present leadership of the country is trying to undo the constitution so ardously built and nurtured over the years.

I strongly oppose the CAA. Faced with numerous problems in the domestic front, the BJP govt at the Centre in its move to divert the attention is treading a dangerous path of dividing the country on religious grounds, but the people have seen through their game and will reject this nefarious game plan.

—Captain Viriato Fernandes, Social activist

All those who have high regard for the founder fathers of our nation and the idea of secular India need to come together to save its secular fabric today than ever before. Citizenship Amendment Act has terribly wounded our Indian Constitution. At this point of time, we can't look at India from one narrow religious point of view. Our country needs leaders who have such a large heart so as to look at our Nation from every angle.

—Fr. Eremito Rebello

People have not understood the meaning of the Act. There is huge loss of public property in the country. The PM should explain the act to the public and if some wrong information is being spread it should be stopped.

—Nizir Baig

It is a good move by the government. We strongly support it. Earlier governments had totally ignored this and were injustices done to those who were harassed in Pakistan and other countries.

—Amrut Singh

CAA is an unconstitutional, regressive, communal and a divisive bill. It is against the idea of India as envisaged in the constitution and is in opposition to the plural and secular ethos of our country. 

CAA combined with NRC will damage the unique diversity in India and is aimed at dividing the nation.  This bill is against the poor, illiterate, tribal, homeless and women. The efforts of the present government to divide and rule are a British legacy. The people of India including all faith and groups collectively fought for the freedom and today are again fighting to protect the constitution and plural nature of our country.

—Asif Hussein

Are refugees supposed to be taxpayers, now? They are so far known as tax burden to the ‘citizens’ of the country. On the flip side: will Akshay Kumar, one of the highest taxpayers but so far with a Canadian passport and Jacqueline Fernandes, with Sri Lankan nationality, not far less than Akshay in taxpaying to the Indian Government, since before the ruling party came to power and ‘Indians’ who have been taxpaying for generations fails to furnish a registered family tree to prove that they belong to India, should have every penny of the tax paid by them and their ancestors refunded to their account once they should be sealed as refugees?

—D  Baksi

IDhar UDHAR

IDHAR UDHAR