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Muslims community holds a decent number to not to be called as a minority in India. As of 2019 there were more than 21 crore Muslims in India which was around 17% of the population. India without being a Muslim nation has more Muslim population than any Islamic country. The secular nature of Indian constitution provides a sense of protection to this population. The nature to protect someone is to not only to protect them from any physical harm but also to protecting their freedom of life, believes, religion, and rights. But, after the election of 2014 Lok Sabha, the protection provided by the constitution has been in a bit of Diaspora. Now the population involving Muslims do not feel safe as they use to prior to 2014. Something has changed, whether the ideology of the government and the people or the brethren we use to share with the Muslim community. Recent laws and judgments which involve the decision related to the community have been worrying for them. It may be abolition of triple talak or CAA or it might be the Anti Love Jihad law. All these collectively look like an attack on Muslims community. On the other side, the government has used its majority in both the houses very carefully in order to bring these laws into execution. As we have already seen how they have abolished Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, that talks about special status of Jammu Kashmir. Therefore, being in the power with full majority has been an advantage for the government in power. But, we will briefly discuss in this article what is there in these so called anti Muslim laws and regulations.
ABOLITION OF TRIPLE TALAK
If we go periodically, then the first thing which affected Muslim’s personal law was the abolition of triple talak by the Supreme Court of India. Muslim’s are very serious about their personal laws and all that what is written in Quran. So, yes triple talak might be an old tradition practiced by Muslim’s, which now holds no place in the 21st century, but still abolishing it and calling it unconstitutional has affected Muslim population if not the younger ones, but the older generation has definitely an issue with it. Just by saying talak thrice should never be an option with anyone who wants to take divorce from his spouse. The right of the women which is not much talked about does get affected. She cannot even have any say in this decision and has to simply obey what her husband has said. This is clear infringement of human rights of women. There are many Islamic countries that have abolished the draconic law a lot earlier then India. Hence, the justifiability of triple talak can never be defended and it will always be criticized, but the issue in India is that the abolition of this practice has come in this government, which has been ridiculed earlier also of demolishing the Mohammedan Law in India. The Muslim scholars in India have been criticizing the NDA government right from the beginning of their tenure that they are trying to make this secular Country a Hindu Nation, which is against the soul of the Preamble. Hence, how archaic or draconic the practice may be, they are still going to argue that this is just an strategy of the right wing ideology to throw out the Muslims from this country.
THE CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT (BILL)
One of the most controversial acts passed by any Indian government is the Citizenship Amendment bill. The amendment bill amended the citizenship Act, 1955. The CAA was passed by the NDA government on 12 December 2019. The act talks about providing citizenship to people who are non resident of India after fulfilling the requirements required to get citizenship. CAA along with NRC (National Registration Certificate) is considered to be a harsh law for those people who do not have any national registration in India. Majority of the Muslim population have their roots from Pakistan and their parents migrated from Pakistan at the time of separation, hence they are worried as they might not have required documents to prove their nationality. They are worried that if they are not able to show any proof, then they will be either thrown out of the country or kept in the isolation centers build by the government. The act as soon as it was enacted created lot of chaos among the ideology of left wing and those belonging to Muslim community. There were lot of protest in India against this act and people were protesting to take back the Act with immediate effect. The government has still not listened to the people against the law and they think that it is for the benefit of the Muslims as they will be provided permanent citizenship in India. But the reality is still not known, that whether the government’s intention is in favor or against the Muslim community. As the image of this government right from the beginning is one which is anti Muslim government, such type of acts will always have an iota of doubt, whether it is or it is not for the benefit of Muslims living in India. The NDA Government has been saying that the act will help our Indian Hindus living in Pakistan and Bangladesh to secure citizenship in India. But, the nature of the act is creating a sense of terror in the mind of Muslims. They have been saying that it has always been the top most priority of this government and the ideology of the right wing Hindu extremists to eradicate the Muslims totally out of this country through this law. Many RSS and BJP leaders have been saying it loud in public gatherings to push out the Muslims from this country. Therefore, the fear of getting thrown out or in the isolation centers is justified on the part of the Muslim community.
ANTI LOVE JIHAD LAW
After the abolition of triple talak and article 370 of the Indian constitution, and enacting the Citizenship Amendment bill, the government in several BJP ruling states have introduced the Anti Love Jihad law, where marrying someone forcefully other than your religion is punished with imprisonment and fine or both. States like Uttrakhand and Madhya Pradesh have already enacted the law and Uttar Pradesh have passed it through an ordinance, which already has been challenged in the Allahabad High Court. Whereas Himachal Pradesh and Haryana are considering to introduce it in their states as well. One thing that is common in all these states is that they are all governed by the BJP. The law talks about converting another “by the use of force, misrepresentation, and fraudulent means of marriage”. The period of punishment is proposed to be minimum period of one year, which may extend up to five years. In cases involving of minors or people belonging to schedule tribe and schedule castes the punishment is up to ten years. The main inference that is taken out from this law is that they are all anti Muslim law, as the method of conversion after marriage has been mostly practiced by the Muslim community. More over the majority of arrests made after the law came into force have been from the Muslim community as well. Therefore, the community thinks that the law is against them and they are getting hunted after the law came into force. The Muslim community has been critically criticized earlier also for increasing their population vastly in India in order to claim majority in India. The method of giving birth to more children in comparison to other communities and the method of conversion have been said to be used as a tool to have more Muslim people in India. The main problems with these types of laws are to know what is the real intention behind both the law and marriage. It is difficult to know whether the person marrying another has the real intention behind the conversion or it is just another fraudulent marriage. More than 100 people were reprimanded by the police within a month after the ordinance was passed in Uttar Pradesh. The legal scholars consider these types of laws to be evil in nature and also unconstitutional as it infringes the Right to privacy of the person, provided under article 21 of the constitution. As the ordinance or law was passed only in the BJP ruling states, it was obvious to be looked by another angle, which they have been criticized of since day one in office, i.e., anti Muslim governance. It has been new normal now in 2021 to not to talk about BJP and Muslims in the same paragraph. The government has been not nationally but also internationally been criticized on human right perspective for terrorizing Muslim community, although being a secular nation. Hence, the Anti Love Jihad Law has to be taken into consideration again and enacted in a proper manner, for better and fruitful results.
TUSSLE BETWEEN MUSLIMS AND GOVERNMENT
Both the Muslim community and NDA Government have been criticizing each other from the very beginning of the NDA’s regime. The Muslims have been saying that the ideology of the government has been similar to the ideology of the RSS, that this nation belongs to Hinduism and rests all the communities are guest that can continue living in this country as long as they practice nationalism. Whereas, the government has been criticizing the Muslim community for spreading hatred and violence in the country in order to gain supremacy in the country. They have also used the anti Muslim slogans to gather vote. There is no consensus between the two and the situation is getting worse day by day. To live peacefully there should be balance of thoughts and beliefs in life, but this balance is totally missing between them. Ideologies of both are not matching at all, one believes in Hinduism and other in Islamism. The concept of secularism given by our constitution is totally discarded by both. This is the main tussle between them, that they are not ready to accept what is mentioned in the constitution and rather putting their ideologies superior than the law of the land. The situation is getting worse day by day. It should be solved before it gets too late. If not then only the nation will only suffer.
SOME MORE INSTANCES OF HATRED
The above three mentioned laws and rules are not the only three instances of hatred but, there are some more instances in these seven years which shows that all is not right between the Muslim community, the BJP Government and supporters of nationalist ideology .
- Taking away the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, by striking down Article 370 from the Constitution of India. – from the point of view government it is necessary for the development of the people of that state to be included in the country as union territory and not excluding them from their own country by giving special status. Whereas, the Muslim community which is more than 90 % of the population of the state, thinks that the government just want to keep an upper hand on their state and not letting them do anything freely as they are Muslims.
- Lynching of Muslim people- mob lynching of Pehlu khan and his son by the people just making assumption that he was using his cows to make meat was brutality on any human at a different level. He was just taking his own cattle to farms as he use to do on daily basis. Not only Pehlu Khan but there have been several instances on mob lynching on the Muslim community, which gives them a sense of fear of getting killed out in the streets. The government has also been silent about these attacks and never made any such laws to control such activities of sheer brutality.
- Ayodhya verdict- Yes the verdict was given by The Supreme Court of India, but still the Muslim community thinks that the verdict was against them and one more way to disrespect them. But, the decision was solely based on facts and the outcome was by given without any biasness.
BETTER IDEAS AND IMPLIMENTATION
The situation could have been different, if better ideas were used to manage the Muslim population. If we take out ban on Triple Talak and Ayodhya verdict out of the context, as they were given solely on facts and laws by The Supreme Court of India and it has to be obeyed, the problem as said by the government of managing Muslim population could have been solved with much more effectiveness with better ideas and implementations.
- Citizenship amendment act- the whole conundrum of CAA and Anti CAA could have been solved by the government if they had taken time and not enacting the law directly but rather given clarification of what the act talks about and things required to get citizenship. They were real quick in enacting the law which created chaos in the people.
- Population control bill- Indian population is second largest in the world after China. The population problem has been a head ache for both the citizen and the government in power. Majority of the increasing population has been from the Muslim community and there increasing number has been a problem for the government to manage them properly. People in India other than the Muslim community do think this vast increase in the number of Muslim population can lead them to problem, as they can try to make India into an Islamic nation. The thought is totally imaginary but it is there in the people. This could easily be managed if the government which has already used its majority for abolishing Article 370 can pass the Population Control bill in the Parliament. It will solve the problem related to population. The increasing no. of Muslim population will also come in control.
- Controlling anti Muslim speeches in public- BJP leaders in past and now also have been speaking out loud in the public meetings and gatherings against the Muslim community. The speeches of hatred have been used as a tool for diversion from the topic of development and unemployment. They have used it as a weapon for gathering votes from the public. If these leaders stop making these speeches against the community which is also an integral part of the secular structure of India, then people belonging to this community will not thing otherwise and will understand the feeling of secularism and try to live peacefully within the country.
- Uniform civil code- One of the reasons of arguments from independence is enacting Uniform Civil Code in India. It is going to be difficult, but if it can be enacted, then there will be some relief in these problems. The community is very particular about their personal law and if there will be uniform civil code then Muslims will not have majority of their problems with the government.
- More Muslim member in the party structure- If more people in the government are from the Muslim community then there will be more assurance within the Muslim community. If the government really thinks for better management, then inclusion of some Muslim members in the party will never be an issue for the government. More over it will benefit the government as they will know what the community wants.
It is difficult to clearly say whether these laws and regulation have been made for the benefit of the Muslim community or not. But, one thing is for sure that they have got a lot of criticism and hatred among both the Indian politics and Muslim community. The government has been smart enough to gather lot of votes for their policies and actions against the Muslims. The community on the other hand has suffered a lot and feels terrified in the country. Yes there have been some instances where people belonging to Muslim community have done something wrong, but you cannot punish whole community for that. The ideology has to change to protect the brethren among the people belonging to all the communities. The process to manage the growing Muslim population also has to be in right manner without creating any amount of tension among them. The government should come forward and try to protect the secularism of India and Muslim community should keep patience and spread more love among all communities.
Author: Himalaya Singh, Amity Law School, Delhi, Indaprastha University.
Editor: Kanishka Vaish, Senior Editor, LexLife India.