Implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act could reduce the role of minorities in the country, while encouraging majoritarian forces, Nobel laureate and economist Amartya Sen has said, reported PTI on Saturday.

“As far as I can see, one of BJP’s purposes [by implementing CAA] is to reduce the role of minorities and make them less important and, in a direct and indirect way, increase the role of the Hindu majoritarian forces in India and to that extent undermine the minorities,” he told PTI in an interview.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, 2019, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities, excluding Muslims, from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.

It has been widely criticised as discriminatory and Indian Muslims fear it could be used with the National Register of Citizens to harass and disenfranchise them. It had sparked massive protests across the country.

The law, however, is yet to be implemented as rules under the Citizenship Amendment Act have not been framed.

“It’s very unfortunate for a country like India which is meant to be a secular, egalitarian nation and it [the law] has also been used for particularly unfortunate discriminatory action like declaring minorities, whether from Bangladesh or West Bengal, as foreign rather than indigenous,” Sen told PTI. “This is pretty demeaning and I would regard that to be a bad move basically.”

The 89-year-old Nobel laureate also said that the performance of the BJP-led Central government has not improved.

“I think what India needs is a recognition that every Indian has certain rights and they come from their membership of the nation,” he added. “That was after all what Mahatma Gandhi tried to do.”

Also read:

Powerful voice needed when nation is divided and unity destroyed, says Amartya Sen

‘Mamata Banerjee has ability to be next PM’

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has the ability to be the next prime minister, Sen told PTI.

“It’s not that she does not have the ability to do it,” he told the news agency. “She clearly has the ability. On the other hand, it is yet not established that Mamata can pull the forces of public dismay against the BJP in an integrated way to make it possible for her to have the leadership to put an end to the fractionalisation in India.”

Sen also said that the Bharatiya Janata Party has narrowed the understanding of India to “just Hindu India and as a Hindi-speaking India” in such a manner that there is no alternative to the outfit in the country. The Nobel laureate, however, said that said while the BJP looks powerful, it has many weaknesses too.

Sen also said that the regional parties have an important role to play in the national politics as well as against the BJP, reported PTI. The Congress, on the other hand, is weakened, he said, adding that the party can, however, provide an all-India vision.