CAA: The Points to Note

Sukla Sen

I. The CAA is both arbitrary and discriminatory. And, quite visibly so.

While Afghanistan is there (among the three from which sections of migrants would be entitled to obtain Indian citizenship), with which India shares no functioning common border, bordering Myanmar, which had even been a part of British India, and Sri Lanka are excluded.

Similarly, only religious persecution qualifies - not other forms.

And even there - Muslims, atheists, rationalists, Ahmadis etc are, again, excluded.

II. The Act is meant to send out two noxious messages.

One, Muslims do not belong (to India).
Two, only non-Muslims are religiously persecuted and, that too, only in Muslim-majority countries.

III. It, thereby, goes against a foundational tenet of the Indian Constitution: non-discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, gender etc.
(Special supports for the weak and marginalised exempted.)

IV. Still then, it's not likely to have any significant impact on the ground, outside of the North-East and West Bengal.
Even there, it's somewhat doubtful.

V. It, nevertheless, promises citizenship to (otherwise ineligible) some while withholding such privilege to others - based on religion.
That's toxic.

But, by itself, it doesn't take away anyone's citizenship.

VI. The promise, by and large, appears to be a hoax.
That the "rules" are yet to be framed - even after a year, clearly shows up the lack of seriousness in granting citizenship.

VII. Far more importantly, it's a red herring.

It's meant to mislead - to pit those who have been denied this "promise" against those who have been offered ("promise" only).
Quite unfortunately, the opponents of the regime have taken the bait.

VIII. The real monster is the NRC, of which the NPR is the first, and most critical operational, part.
(Once the NPR is done, the NRC becomes almost the done thing.)

IX. The NRC operation makes vast sections of Indians, not in possession of documents related to ownership of ancestral land/house or such, extremely vulnerable to the threat - that the exercise overlies, of being stripped of citizenship.
That's too terrifying.

X. Needs be collectively and resolutely countered.
The role of the concerned state governments would be highly critical.
It's a battle one just doesn't afford to lose.

XI. Once the citizenship is lost - or even in the case of one's name not figuring in the preliminary list, one'd just be in a hellhole.
As plain as that.

XII. The whole exercise is meant to trigger a somewhat low-key civil war-like situation across religious divides.
In order to derive a big push towards a "Hindu Rashtra" (Hindu nation state) - at the very minimum, denuded of all vestiges of substantive democracy and pluralism.

The economy is sure to take a big hit. But, that's an acceptable price. From the viewpoint of the incumbent regime.

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Dec 21, 2020

Sukla Sen

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