Why Stanford protestors are right about India’s citizenship bill: a response


Abeer Dahiya and Ashwin Ramaswami in Opinion


We write in response to a previous article in the Review entitled “Why Stanford protestors are wrong about India’s citizenship bill” by Neelay Trivedi ’23. We’d encourage you to read that article if you haven’t already. The article contains several logical and factual inconsistencies and lacks context, and we attempt to lay out these criticisms here.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) allows all Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan who entered India before December 31, 2014 to be no longer considered illegal migrants by Indian authorities and expedites their citizenship process.

Logical inconsistencies

A core criticism of the CAA is that it excludes Muslims who have faced religious persecution. Trivedi responds by suggesting that the CAA does not affect the existing citizenship process for Muslims. Yet the existing process already heavily favors CAA-covered immigrants, such as the expedited granting of a long-term visa, a common prerequisite for citizenship.

While illegal CAA-protected immigrants have been granted amnesty through the CAA, illegal Muslim immigrants will retain their illegal status, denying them any legal pathway to citizenship whatsoever. Thus, while Trivedi is technically correct that the CAA “does nothing to limit or modify” the existing citizenship pathway, that process is hardly a viable option for Muslims.

In response, Trivedi states the difficulty of identifying Muslims who have “genuinely faced religious persecution.” However, there is no reason this difficulty would only apply to Muslims. A member of India’s ruling political party even recently admitted that “[o]ne cannot prove religious persecution” for CAA-covered immigrants and that the government would need to devise “in-house processes” instead (such as self-declaration of persecution).

Trivedi also claims that religious minorities such as Ahmadiyyas are “outside the scope of the CAA” because of a “legal precedent” set by a 1970 Kerala High Court decision that allowed Ahmadiyyas the right to call themselves Muslims. However, nothing here excludes the CAA drafters from adding the word “Ahmadiyya” (or any group, for that matter) to it. It is a cruel irony that Trivedi utilizes the very case upholding Ahmadiyyas’ religious freedoms in his attempt to justify not recognizing the religious persecution of Ahmadiyyas under the CAA.

Given these facts, it is not clear why Trivedi insists that he “admire[s] India’s secular tradition” while treating two religious groups so differently. In order to make logical sense, such an argument has to accept a preference of non-Muslim over Muslim immigrants, a violation of that very tradition.

Lack of context

Further, Trivedi does not consider the CAA in the context of the National Registry of Citizens (NRC), a proposed register of all citizens in India. The state of Assam’s recent statewide NRC shows the dangers of a nationwide implementation. In the absence of proper documentation for many existing citizens, both Hindus and Muslims (even soldiers and elected politicians) were left off the list and faced the danger of being extradited to detention centers. However, the CAA shields non-Muslim religious groups from this fate but leaves authorities carte blanche to pursue Muslims, effectively laying the groundwork for Muslim-only detention camps.

The link between the CAA and a nationwide NRC is clear and unmistakable, given Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s own statements. Mr. Shah’s ministry is responsible for handling citizenship affairs nationwide.

Here, we must assert that the CAA does not simply govern entry into India; it allows arbitrarily rigorous standards for proving the existing citizenship of members of non-protected groups.

Many land records in India are missing. Just 62% of Indians under five have birth certificates and 2% of Indians pay income taxes. Nearly every Indian has an Aadhaar biometric identification card and a voter ID card, but the government has disqualified them as adequate proof for the NRC.

At the same time, the government and Mr. Shah’s ministry have issued contradictory statements regarding the standard of proof they would require. It is a Kafkaesque irony that a law ostensibly brought in the interest of national security has greatly exacerbated uncertainty for millions of its own citizens.

Factual inaccuracies

Trivedi claims that India has “20 million illegal Muslim migrants,” providing no source for this claim. The closest one we could find is a government statement referring to “20 million illegal Bangladeshi migrants” — from all religions. He then claims that most Muslim immigrants have entered India due to “economic and political reasons” rather than religious persecution, but then confusingly cites an unrelated article about people falsifying documents in the Assam NRC.

These factual inaccuracies matter because they help skew the facts to favor a simplified narrative of Muslims opportunistically entering India. Such a narrative also omits any mention of other persecuted refugees equally deserving of India’s attention, such as the scores of Sri Lankan Tamils and Burmese Rohingya fleeing military abuses.

Ultimately, Trivedi says it is “disappointing that the campus narrative has glossed over these horrific details [of religious persecution].” To us, it is equally disappointing how his article presents a myopic focus on certain injustices while giving a perfunctory treatment to a nuanced and layered issue already affecting millions of people. And it is further disappointing that the Review has not fact-checked some of his evidentiary claims.


This is fundamentally why the CAA-NRC combination is troubling: it can only be defended by lack of context and misreading history. Indeed, it threatens the very idea of India’s secular democracy. In taking our position, we do not oppose rehabilitating persecuted refugees — it is in India’s history and character to do so — but the CAA-NRC is not the right way forward. It is telling that even the Catholic Church in India, a community ostensibly protected by the CAA, has joined protests against it.

Instead, India should ratify the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, joining the vast majority of the world in acknowledging its responsibility toward those who seek asylum on its shores. We urge the Indian government to adopt a formalized framework for accepting refugees, rather than scoring political victories at the expense of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Trivedi says that protesters like us embrace “virtue signaling.” We do. Standing up for our values is the very definition of virtue signaling. The point of our protest is to highlight that we value the constitutionally-encoded principles of secularism, democracy and freedom of worship as opposed to a narrow and pernicious idea of Hindu majoritarianism.
Cast merely as an amnesty for persecuted foreign minorities, the CAA-NRC is really an instrument for marginalization of India’s own citizen minorities: Indians that have fought for India in wars, fed India through their labor and served in government. To question their Indian-ness is a disgraceful and dangerous exercise.


Working Title/Artist: Punjab, India
Department: Photographs
HB/TOA Date Code:
Working Date: 1947
photography by mma 1992, transparency 3a
scanned and retouched by film and media (jnc) 12_20_07

5 replies

  1. CAB and NRC for the Indian Muslims

    The plan of the Chaiwala for the Indian Muslims.dindooohindoo


    Assuming that the votes cast in the last polls in Hindoosthan,were at 40% of the aggregate Indian Population – it would be safe to assume that 50% of the residual non voters,would have no ID proof or records to prove ID, and there will be alternative claimants to their ID and properties and assets.

    Of them 90% will be Muslims,Dalits,SC/ST and just poor and marginal farmers and workers.What are these people expected to do ? There is no way that they will get any ID or prove the forensic trail of their possessions and properties,even within the current generation.It will be impossible to prove that they are Bangladeshis or from Timbuktu.

    Step 1

    As soon as these people are identified,their assets will be frozen and there will be multiple claimants for their assets and possessions – which will lead to distress sales and 3 rd party warehousing of their properties and assets as well as hawala operations within and outside Hinooosthan (at a huge loss to the owners,just like in the Demo)

    Step 2

    In addition,touts fronting for the BJP/RSS will offer alt-IDs,safe passage etc. (just like in the Demo drive) and the baboos,patwaris,village polity and pandoos (khaki ke kutte) will have a field day

    Step 3

    The next step of the Chaiwala,will be to target the Muslims etc.,with voter ids and voting rights and to use the NRC,to disenfranchise them – as a non-citizen cannot have a voting right.


    The purpose of the Chaiwala is to disenfranchise Muslims and Dalits and Tribes in several North Eastern states,and other states,where the margin of vote winnings,is in a few 100s or 1000s,and there is a large hostile population which is anti-Muslim or Anti-Tribal,in sentiment.Then the Chaiwala can import the Hindoos from SAARC and settle them in those wafer thin constituencies (as swing voters),and especially near the IB (as spies).


    The disenfranchised Muslims and Muslims with No ID,will then be exported to UP/Bihar/Telangana etc.,to Muslim dominated areas (on the pretext that their own,will protect them),where the BJP already has an electoral disadvantage – to further polarise the Hindoos,in those states and provoke Anti-Muslim sentiments,to secure/grow and consolidate their vote bank

    Electoral Aggregation

    In the interim,the other political parties will punt on the Muslims etc.,and thus,will form a coalition against the Chaiwala (to ensure that there is no vote split and the votes are transferred to the coalition).This is what the Chaiwala wants,as that will further polarise the Hindoos and possibly bring to the fore their bestial instincts – which will be,to support the Chaiwala

    If there is no Anti-Chaiwala coalition,then the Muslim vote will splinter,as Chaiwala,earnestly desires

    The Hindoo Bindoo who believed that they would get 25000 USD per capita,will be easily conned to believe that the Anti-Chaiwala coalition,created riots over CAB and thus,the Muslim reaction on the streets – is precisely why NRC is required,and that the Anti-Chaiwala coalition is anti-hindu and anti-national

    False Flag operations

    If the instincts do not show the surge,then the Chaiwala will use the NIA/IB and Military Intel to bomb some Hindoo refugee camps and some Muslim clusters – like in Pulwama (which was a difficult forced flag operation).That will be cake walk for the NIA/IB – the khaki ke kutte.

    It is certain that there will be spate of bombings in North East and Central and South India to build the euphoria
    against the “imagined other” and build the case for the NRC

    The Pathetos

    A majority of Indian Muslims are Dalit converts.It is easy to conceive a situation wherein some Muslims with no ID Proof will gladly add “Rama” to their names,and accept ID cards with a Lotus synbol,or verses of the Ramayana – to live in India.

    The Kiss of death of the Israelis

    History records that whoever is used by the Israelis or is conned by the Israelis to kill the enemies of the Israelis – is destroyed forever.

    It is the curse on Solomon’s lineage and those which support the lineage

    Chaiwala was born to destroy Hindoosthan and has now adopted the Israeli Model.The Jews convinced Cyrus that a verse in the Torah named him as the Messiah.He rebuilt the Temple of Solomon, and his clan,empire and nation were destroyed forever.

    The Jews conned Cyrus.Chaiwala is the son of a Ayah Whore.It is the destiny of the chaiwala to doom Hindoosthan.Moral of the Story

    The dumb Muslims and Dalits of Hindoosthan have to understand that they need a separate nation.They will get nothing from Hindoosthan.

  2. If I am a India, Yes I will feel afraid with Muslim who come to India— most Muslim’s goal when they are getting strong they want to perform or establish their syariah state.

    That is a root of problem with Muslim around the world.

    Do not delete it

      • Every group of Muslim eho come to Non Islam countries want to promote the Islam “LABEL”—we cannot see in public other religion dose like Muslims do. Am I wrong?

      • may be where you live the Jehovah Witnesses do not stand on every corner ?

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