Senior Advocate Indira Jaising said that the Citizenship Amendment Act was the "official legislative heralding of Hindu Rashtra" and countered the very concept of India.
She was speaking on the topic "Impact of CAA and NRC on Indian secularism" in 13th National Conference of All India Lawyers Union (AILU) held at Kochi on December 28.
She began her talk saying "All lawyers should take an oath of allegiance to the constitution of India."
She went on to say that despite certain contradictions in the constitution, it is like a 'holy book' for her, as Justice Nariman recently observed in the Sabarimala review order.
"We are being called upon to rise to secularism. Young lawyers and law students have risen across time and rose to the occasion."
She urged the lawyers' community to campaign among the law colleges and students and educate them about this issue.
Indira Jaising herself was the daughter of a migrant from Pakistan. She said that this Act and the NRC reminded her about being a migrant.
She said that despite living in India and serving India for so long, she might also be treated as a migrant by a harsh law as her parents migrated to India from an area now in Pakistani. She added that the purpose of calling upon one to prove his citizenship is only to target him on the basis of religion.
"Each one of us is being called upon to prove we are Indians. We are living in a surveillance state."
She said that religion and politics should be kept separate as was intended by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar when he had urged everyone to reject the "Manusmriti" as it legalizes the caste system.
"CAA counters the very concept of India that we gave to ourselves", she said.
She spoke about the change in NPR and expressed her concern over the concept of people being tagged as "doubtful citizens". Nobody knows what that means will happen to these people. Those excluded from the list will be deported after being sent to detention centers.
She concluded by saying that as a humanitarian, she feels India should give refuge and shelter to all those persecuted and not differentiate on the grounds of religion. She went on to say that,
"A discriminatory law is not a law that I'll accept"
She concluded "I do not care whether this Government recognizes me as a citizen. I am a proud citizen of India. I recognize myself as a citizen of India committed to secularism and constitutional values".
Activist Teesta Setalvad and P. Rajiv, former Member of Parliament, also spoke in the seminar. Teesta spoke about the police brutalities inflicted against CAA protesters in Uttar Pradesh. CAA will only result in revisiting the wounds of partition. NRC will only result is spreading the horrors of Assam-NRC process nationwide, she commented.
P Rajiv pointed out that the proposal for inner line permits in further areas of North Eastern India belied the "one country one constitution" propaganda of the government. Advocate N. Manoj Kumar welcomed the gathering and Advocate K.K.Nasser proposed the Vote of thanks.