Few pieces of legislation have caused as much unease, mistrust and confusion as the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. It is not understood on what basis opponents of the Act are claiming that Indian Muslims are being victimised when it is about non-Muslim minorities of three neighbouring countries. It is well known that minorities in these countries are severely discriminated against. It is but natural for them to look upon to a democratic India for asylum. Are the opponents suggesting that even majority communities in these countries are subject to persecution? If so, by whom and whose responsibility is it to take care of them? Further, if the contention of the Centre that the rights and culture of the North-Eastern States are fully protected is true, what could be the possible reasons for the violent reaction of people belonging to all sections in those States. Doesnt it mean that the government has failed to allay their fears (Protests turn violent in West Bengal, Assam situation eases, Dec. 15)?
The Central government appears to be in a tearing hurry to advance its political agenda by making moves like placing lotus on passports and Devanagari numerals in currency notes. Slowly and stealthily, the country is moving towards a clear dictatorship while all the while democracy is being mentioned in the passing as a stumbling block. Sycophancy has peaked and hero worship is the norm.
In the end, what the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) boils down to is that if you are an illegal immigrant or a refugee who is non-Muslim, you are eligible to get citizenship, albeit on the presumed ground of religious persecution; and if you are an illegal immigrant or a refugee who is Muslim, you will be termed a termite and put in detention centres. This new law, passed overriding impassioned objection,s awakens us to realising what we have become as a nation.
The CAA exemplifies what Indias upper crust is capable of doing to take the focus away from social justice and the economy. Dont be under the illusion that the BJP and RSS with their parliamentary majority make this kind of devious laws all by themselves. It becomes possible to do it by the tacit approval of the supporters of Hindu right in the form of television anchors, top bureaucrats, business tycoons and even judges. It is incomprehensible how anyone can treat a country of continental proportions and an explosive mix of races and religions as their ancestral property.
The religion-based CAA fits in with Sangh Parivars Hindutva agenda; it evokes chilling reminders of Partition and takes India a step too far from its being as a secular democracy. It proclaims Indian territory as more hospitable to Hindus outside India than Muslims outside India.
The way I see it, the CAA is not just communal and unconstitutional, but it is also sadistic and kills the very spirit of humanity. It can be illustrated by the example of feeding one hungry person and not feeding another hungry person for reason of their faith. The CAA, underpinned by Hindu nationalism, is nothing short of naked tyranny of the majority over the minority against which we were warned by none other than B.R.Ambedkar himself. Prime Minister Narendra Modis invocation of Parliament does not clinch the argument.
G. David Milton
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
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