Protests. Vandalism. Violence. Brutality.
These are the things that are surfacing on social media and the news channels. Many people are trying to project the issues in a way that suits them. Many people are share content without checking the facts. They are being a rebel without a cause. These people need introspection irrespective of their political interests, religion or language.
Talking about the Protests
- There are two aspects of the protests. The protests in the northeast and the protest in the rest of India are both different.
- There is support for NRC in Assam. NRC was born out of the Assam movement and Assamese people are scared that the citizenship amendment act violates the NRC and the Assam Accord and hence the protest.
- The violent protests around India, excluding the north-east, are against the exclusion of Muslims from the Citizenship Amendment Act, the legality of which is debatable.
Introduction of CAA and Constitutionality of CAA
- Yes, it’s an act now not a bill because it has become the law of the land on 12th December 2019.
- Regarding the constitutionality of this act, Harish Salve, the ex-solicitor general of India has said that it doesn’t violate the constitution and is perfectly legal.
- The government is claiming that CAA will help only 31,000 immigrants right now but the reality is yet to be seen.
- However, we should wait for the SC Verdict, if it goes to court, which I think it will.
Difference between CAA and the NRC
- CAA and National Registers of Citizens (NRC) are different. So, don’t mix that up. Most of the protests are against the Citizenship amendment act and not the NRC (most of them). NRC is the National Register of Citizens, a process aimed at removing illegal immigrants from India. The NRC process was recently completed in Assam. NRC is secular and it is not against any religion.
- CAA is the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, which proposes to grant Indian citizenship to the religious minorities who have fled from three of India’s neighboring nations- Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – due to religious persecution or the fear of being persecuted. CAA makes differences on the basis of majority and minority religions of those countries. In legal terms it’s called intelligible differentia, you can look it up.
So, let’s look at what it is and what it isn’t.
- According to the government, CAA only provides an easier way to give citizenship to the religious minorities of three Islamic countries around us that have been persecuted for decades. Well, this is what the government says.
- It doesn’t prohibit people from any other specific religion to apply for citizenship. I will repeat it again. It will not stop Muslims from other countries to apply for citizenship in India.
- It makes sense to grant citizenship to those who have been persecuted. The number of non-muslims is being ethnically cleansed in Pakistan. They should be helped now, it’s high time. The same can’t be said about Bangladesh or Afghanistan where the government is tolerable and people are doing much better there as compared to Pakistan.
Who will it affect and who it won’t affect?
- CAA won’t affect the people who are already the Citizens of India irrespective of their religion.
- It is only applicable to the illegal immigrants coming from those three countries which are based on the minority status of those countries.
- Irrespective of the CAA, anyone and everyone are free to apply for citizenship in India and their profile will be evaluated and the citizenship will be grated on the basis of the eligibility criteria.
What can go wrong with this Act?
- One concern that I have is that this act could have been extended to other minorities from other countries like China as well.
- Besides that, there are some other Muslim communities like Ahmadiyyas in Pakistan, Bihari Muslims in Bangladesh that have been discriminated against by the state itself, they could have been included in the CAA too.
- Misuse of any law is absolutely possible. CAA is a blunt sword that can be sharpened if combined with NRC and can be harmful if not implemented correctly.
- The act going against the spirit of NRC and the Assam Accord is a possibility but that can only be established by the Supreme Court of India, again if the case goes to court.
- CAA also may pose a threat to the Muslims of Bengali origin because there is no way to distinguish between Indians and Immigrants if there will be no proper documentation.
- The biggest concern is that NRC and CAA are different but if NRC will be implemented nationwide in conjugation with CAA, what will be the status of 130 crore people of India. Will they have to get their citizenship verified? That is the question to ask.
Take on Assam Agitation
- Assam has a long history of clashes between Assamese speaking and Bengali Speaking people.
- During the British Era, Assam was placed under the administration of Bengal and Bengali was imposed on Assamese speaking people and was made the language of the court and educational institutions.
- This and influx of Bengali speaking people from the Indian state of West Bengal as well as from Bangladesh has agitated Assamese people over the years and rightly so.
- It has never been about any religion. The agitation has been about language and culture.
- Also, it has never been just about illegal immigrants but also about keeping the interests of the local population and a say in local politics.
- It was made worse by politics. There were massacres and it was damn bloody. This led to the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985.
The Hypocrisy of the Political Parties
- Congress party in Assam invited illegal immigrants to the state for years to build a vote bank, and only signed the Assam Accord after a lot of blood was spilled. And now important members of Congress are inciting the protesters, the thing that every opposition does. They also promoted the settlement of illegal immigrants in West Bengal. They are the two-faced people here.
- Mamata Banerjee, who recently said that the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) will lead to a “civil war and bloodbath”, had said in Lok Sabha in 2005 that “infiltration into Bengal has become a disaster” and Bangladesh nationals were on the voting list. She was against the Congress and CPI-M in Bengal in 2005 but she has joined hands with the Congress now. She was Pro-NRC and now she is Anti-NRC. You see the issue here.
- We all know that the BJP has the majority in the parliament and they probably passed this act to win the next Assam Legislative Assembly Elections. They have listed the issue of illegal immigrants in their manifesto but CAA is opposite to what they have said in the past.
- The biggest hypocrisy is that of Asom Gana Parishad. They were the very party that was born out of the Assam Agitation and is now in alliance with the BJP in Assam. They have voted in favor of the CAA in the Rajya Sabha. Now their leaders have been saying that they will oppose the CAA but the reality is nowhere to be seen right now. They haven’t fulfilled their promises to the Assamese people in the past 3 decades. And even now they are manipulating the Assamese people.
The Major issue of Police Brutality
- There have been videos of police brutality in Assam and some universities surfacing all over the social media, which seems absolutely inhumane.
- There have been voices against the ban on the internet in Assam. This is just a common practice to curb the spreading of misinformation which can shed a lot of blood. But this ban has now been lifted.
- Police brutality is the only thing that brought protests to other universities. Most of those protests in other universities aren’t particularly against the CAA but for the brutality against the students of Jamia University. Please note the difference here
- But there is also a catch here. We need to ask ourselves about why would police go to such lengths. We have a system. And the police are accountable to that system. Watching the protest from the eyes of the students gives us a different perspective but we should really be looking for the truth, before passing out judgments. Some are even alleging that the police burnt the vehicles. That, in my view, is highly unlikely. The media is just showing a one-sided story about the protests. They are either supporting the students or they are supporting the police. Both of views are unacceptable. The media should behave more responsibly and cover both aspects of the protests. An inquiry should be conducted against the police as well as those anti-social elements in the crowd who turn the protests violent.
- Even the supreme court has made a statement saying that the rioting should stop.
- There is an outrage among the youth, some of which is justified and some of it isn’t because of the misinformation.
- Some of them are even comparing India with China and calling the government, the Nazis. But to those people, I would say go read about the atrocities that the Nazis committed which were so much more brutal and read about the brutality that the Chinese government is committing against the Uighur Muslims. There is simply no comparing that.
- The right to protest is justified but the issues arise when they turn violent. How do they turn violent? Ladies and gentlemen, they turn violent when anti-social elements join those protests supported by the political parties. We can’t blame just the police or just the students and both of the sides should be probed here.
- It’s just the politicians playing their politics and playing with the sentiments of Indian people. Everyone is playing politics here be it BJP, Congress, TMC or the student political parties such as NSUI, SFI, ABVP and so on.
- Government, Police, and students are just the puppets that are caught in the crossfire of this brutal politics.
- Protests in Assam are due to the reason that Assamese people are getting threatened by the influx of Bengali speaking people. It has nothing to do with religion.
- Ladies and Gentleman, We are going on the same path that got us colonized in the first place and that is fighting amongst each other. Please have some solidarity among yourselves. Accept everyone irrespective of their religion, culture, language, caste or race. Learn and educate yourself so that no one can manipulate you.