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‘Angrezi jeb me rakho’, JNU PhD scholar’s definition of ‘concentration camp’

One has to wonder why Shehla would take the news of a natural death and spin it in a manner that enables her to call mere detention camps and concentration camps indicating that he died of 'torture by state'. 

In states where illegal immigrants are detected as foreigners by the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) under the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946, if they go untraced for a long time, it creates hurdles in deporting them to their country of origin. Hence to restrict their movements and to ensure they do not ‘perform the act of vanishing’ it was decided that they would be kept in detention centres. The central government has authorised state governments to set up detention centres and accordingly, there are six detention centres in Assam at Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Tezpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Silchar.

Recently, it was reported that two persons who were in one of the centres, died, one of whom, Mohammad Jabbar Ali died of old age-related health issues. As per the reports, they had papers to show their nationality, but were unable to provide the same to Foreigners’ Tribunals due to “wrong legal advice”.

JNU freelance protestor and PhD scholar Shehla Rashid decided to compare the detention centres, which have been mandated by the Central Government under the provisions of Section 3(2) (e) of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and Para 11(2) of the Foreigners Order, 1948, to the ‘concentration camps’ set up by the Nazis in Germany during the second world war to hold and torture political opponents as well as millions of Jews, Romanis, Serbs, Poles and disabled people.

In this entire fiasco, it must be remembered that this comparison was drawn by Shehla Rashid while sharing a news article that spoke about an individual dying of old-age related issues. One has to wonder why Shehla would take the news of a natural death and spin it in a manner that enables her to call mere detention camps and concentration camps indicating that he died of “torture by state”.

Such casual usage of one of the worst crimes against humanity in the 20th century made many people question her trivialising the Holocaust. Karan Bhasin, researcher and LSE (London School of Economics) alumnus, asked her if she knew what a ‘Concentration camp’ is. To that, Rashid lost her cool and evaded answering his question by calling him a ‘supporter of the genocidal BJP lynching regime’.

Bhasin replied how his political views or ideologies are unrelated to his academic assessment and again asked Rashid to provide some proof of ‘genocide’, a term many people use rather casually to refer to the 2002 riots which took place following the Godhra carnage where 59 people were burnt alive inside a train while they were returning from Ayodhya.

Seeing that she is losing the argument, Rashid took a dig on Bhasin’s educational qualifications and said that he couldn’t write economics essays and support ‘genocide’ at the same time. This, while Bhasin has nowhere claimed he supports genocide.

When he again asked her to provide some evidence to the tall claim she was making, Rashid went on to label him a ‘white collar Nazi’ who ‘supports genocidal regime back home’. In spite of that, Bhasin kept his cool while Rashid continued with the rhetorics.

What is unfortunate to note here is the casual use of terms like ‘genocide’ and ‘concentration camps’, thereby trivialising the atrocities and human rights violations carried out by Nazi Germany by comparing it to NRC (National Register for Citizens) and detention centres to Holocaust and concentration camps. What is more disturbing is that rather than countering with facts, Rashid resorts to name calling and labelling and accusing Bhasin of elitism just because he asked her a question in English, especially when she herself was tweeting in English. She dismisses his questions, where all he asked was evidence for the serious allegations she is making, just because he studied abroad.

It is indeed true when you are losing an argument, grace is the first thing that gets kicked out of the window.

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Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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