The Citizenship Amendment Act of India And It’s Impact On Garment Workers
I had initially thought of taking a break from my blog through this month. The intent was to prioritize making some life decisions and grounding myself after my transition out of my day job. But with all that is happening here in India, I kept thinking of these words by Tess Guinery -
“there’s no point in resting if momentum is circling you like a hurricane”
– Tess Guinery
I am going to give in to the hurricane circling within me and speak what is in my heart.
As a voice from India, I felt it important to talk about what is happening here and why so many of us are protesting against it. As someone who’s been in the ethical fashion space, I further felt it important to point out how this impacts garment workers and why the ethical fashion industry and the world at large should be paying closer attention.
Why Are Indian’s Protesting Against The Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens?
The government here recently passed an act called “The Citizenship Amendment Act” (CAA). The act is supposed to protect migrants living and working in India who have fled from neighboring countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, with the sinister exception of Muslims. The act gains relevance with the execution of another law in the state of Assam called NRC (National Register of Citizens), which aims at the deportation of all illegal immigrants who cannot furnish arbitrary documents to qualify as citizens. Since most migrants in Assam and neighboring states are from Bangladesh, their religious background skews towards being Muslim, thereby requiring their deportation instead of protection under the CAA. What makes things worse, is the fact that NRC is now proposed to be applied nation-wide, which means that many Muslims across the country will need to present documents required to qualify a migrant as a citizen under NRC or risk being deported under CAA.
How Does This Impact Garment Workers?
This impacts the entire nation and all those who live here, so it isn’t hard to imagine that it will also end up impacting many garment workers living here. This would discriminate against any garment worker who has moved to India from one of the three countries mentioned earlier (such as Bangladesh) and happens to be Muslim. It would also discriminate against any Muslim garment worker who has lived in India but cannot furnish the documents required to qualify as a citizen.
What Can You Do?
The reality is that only the people of India uniting can stop this. But the ethical fashion industry and the world at large need to keep a close eye on this issue and support Indian voices resisting this law. Please be an ally. Use your voice, so all are aware of what is at stake here in India and why we need better laws and regulations to protect our citizens.