Behind the Scene

No, it is not a method in madness. Modi—the 'Tughlok'— along with his fellow travellers and ideologues from Nagpur have a well-directed plan to make India an effectively Hindu entity without officially declaring a Hindu Rashtra at the moment. What originally started in Assam as an innocuous exercise -National Register of Citizens (NRC)—was not that innocuous. It was a deliberate policy to disenfranchise millions of population to manipulate hindu majority in Assam. But it is next to impossible to marginalise such a huge muslim population beyond recognition because these people have been integrated with local economy for generations. In truth the process of NRC has triggered an atmosphere of persecution of both hindus and muslims through dubious means of D-Voters (doubtful voters) and other obnoxious devices including coercion. It is difficult to understand how long they could keep so many people stateless. The persecuted are bound to resist and stand up. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

The aggrieved have no option but to protest. And they are protesting as it is happening in Bengal and elsewhere. Right now Bengal is burning. And NE—the eternal ethnic cauldron-- is in a mood of suicidal violence over the issues of NRC and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).In many places many groups are working at cross purposes without hitting the real target.

This time students too are on the streets protesting in their own way without bothering about ideological niceties. Students are mercilessly beaten particularly in Delhi where Kejriwal's AAP rules, not Modi's BJP. Students of Jamia Milia and JNU have tested the bitter democracy of Delhi police. One can only hope not against hope that students across the country would rise in unison as they did during the '70s popularising the famous 'maoist dictum'—'To Rebel is Justified'. After all students are young and they have a future to win and a moribund past to lose. India's youth are speaking up! And these may not be empty sounds of mindless rebellion. They are asking people to stand up to save the Constitution. They are demanding scraping of CAA. Article 14 of the Constitution provides that rights of every individual are to be equally protected without discrimination. The policies of Modi-Shah are divisive but India will not be divided again on religious lines for political gains.

Faced with turbulence throughout the country Modi finally came out with a clarification—rather a statement. He says, 'CAA is for refugees only'—the persecuted minorities from the earstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangaldesh), Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is determined to finish their unfinished agenda because they may not return next time. But Opposition in its entirety, including both left and centrist, is too naïve to oppose saffron aggression. BJP never faces real opposition from the motley crowd called Opposition.

For decades they have been locating communalism in BJP without really attacking the economic base of that supports and nurses communalism. It does not develop in vacuum. BJP always takes advantage of partition legacy left by history. It is now clear that BJP will go the whole hog to discriminate a huge population through CAA to reach their goal scripted at the headquarters at Nagpur. After such a huge loss of property across the country it seems the government in power is still reluctant to come to sense.

That Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is overtly communal is a fact of life, targeting muslims. For all practical purposes it is now an ACT—Citizenship Amendment Act—CAA.

No doubt the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), passed in both houses of the Parliament is overtly communal, targeting Muslims. The communal overtone is clearly manifested in Amit Shah's statement that India cannot accommodate Muslims from all countries. He will not say if India can accommodate Hindus from all countries. The fact is that the number of 'illegal' Muslim immigrants is much fewer than what has long been propagated by the rabid Muslim haters who have cast their lots with the BJP, the VHP, the RSS and their allies. In Assam, during the NRC finalisation process, large numbers of applications were rejected owing to minor discrepancies in the names, titles, age differences in the legacy documents and the user of such policy documents. As per the findings of the Citizens for Justice and Peace, "There is no section of the population in Assam that has been left unaffected by this overpowering, State-created tragedy. Bengali-speaking Hindus, Muslims, the Gorkhas, Hindi-speaking people of north and west India have all been caught up in this, equally. There is no way to describe what this unfolding trauma has meant, for women and men to attend hearings scheduled in places far away from home, spending significant amounts of money filling in applications. Worse, they are summoned to appear not once, but repeatedly along with 'legacy persons'."

During the operation of the NRC process, certain documents were arbitrarily declared too weak to stand as legitimate proof of citizenship. One such document was the pre-1971 ration card. The ration card is often the only documentary proof of poor working class families. Hence it is no wonder that in the final NRC in Assam, 1.9 millions of people have been excluded from citizenship. But to the dismay of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the majority of them have been found to be non-Muslims. So the ruling party had to swing into action, to allow non-Muslims to apply for citizenship as refugees uprooted from homes due to religious persecution in the earstwhile East Pakistan. The Bill they have managed to have passed through the Parliament will allow religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but not Myanmar, although Myanmar (then Burma) was a part of India till the late thirties of the last century. In Pakistan too, there are some sections of Muslims who may be called victims of religious persecution. But the CAB not address their problems; it is meant only to give citizenship to non-Muslims. It is no use arguing that all of those who have migrated from Bangladesh and Pakistan have not come over to this country due to persecution; many other considerations have prevailed. One such consideration is to live near those kinsmen who had settled in India much earlier.

Communalism in India is a method of extraction of surplus labour. Workers of small industries and trades in north India are predominantly Muslims, while those who control such enterprises are mostly Hindu banias. That is why the Golwalkar-Savarkar ideology of suppressing the Muslims became very popular with them. Here one finds a parallel. If some millions of Muslims are disenfranchised and made to stay in detention camps under subhuman conditions, they will swell the ranks of the reserve army of labour and exert a downward pressure on wages in general. It is not that the game of NRC and CAB is meant to divert attention from the economic crisis. It is a much more nefarious game, the game of combining religious polarisation with super-exploitation. It is true that one section of the unscrupulous madhyabitta (middle class) bhadralok, owing to their ingrained communal outlook, will go on supporting the NRC and CAB, but those who have some conscience yet left and some clarity in thought must come up openly. Hopefully enough, voices of conscience have not died down as yet. Besides, quite a few states have refused to implement the CAB. ooo


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Vol. 52, No. 26, Dec 29 - Jan 4, 2020