As the historic Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 is scheduled to be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after getting passed in Lok Sabha, unsurprisingly the cabal of self-proclaimed ‘intellectuals’, writers, ‘activists’ have now returned back to their usual modus-operandi of fear-mongering and inciting public by indulging in half-truths and misleading information pertaining to Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Reportedly, more than 600 self-proclaimed ‘intellectuals’, including writers, filmmakers and academicians, who are known for their hatred against Prime Minister Modi has now together to publish a statement opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, claiming that it will alter the “character of the Indian republic”.
Another group of over 200 intellectuals and civil society members have also written a letter of opposition against the Bill, that grants citizenship to persecuted minorities of three neighbouring countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
The statement of appeal signed by 625 individuals says, “The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 tears to shreds the inclusive, composite vision of India that guided our freedom struggle,” adding that, “It is a Bill that will alter, fundamentally, the character of the Indian republic.”
“For the first time since the founding of our free and secular republic, the Bill makes religion the key to citizenship… For the first time, there is an attempt, by statute, to exclude Muslims from the possibility of amnesty and citizenship — for no reason other than their religion,” the statement read.
Unsurprisingly, the statement has been signed by the none other than Nayantara Sahgal, Ashok Vajpeyi, Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, TM Krishna, Atul Dodiya, Vivan Sundaram and Sudhir Patwardhan. Filmmakers such as Aparna Sen, Nandita Das and Anand Patwardhan along with ‘scholars’ like Romila Thapar, Prabhat Patnaik and Ramachandra Guha have also joined them.
Shockingly, members belonging to Congress ecosystem and people associated with during the UPA government like Teesta Setalvad, Harsh Mander, Aruna Roy and Bezwada Wilson have also joined the mob to oppose the historic legislation to grant citizenship for persecuted minorities in the three neighbouring Islamic countries.
Retd Justice AP Shah, political activist Yogendra Yadav, and former IAS and ex-Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah have also signed the statement.
Interestingly, most of these self-proclaimed activists and intellectuals have been in the business of writing open-letters, release political statements, inciting violence and fear-mongering for years now to express their opposition to the ruling regime BJP, especially Narendra Modi.
Even in this case as they protest against Citizenship Amendment Bill, the so-called ‘intellectuals’ have made vague accusations and claims to not only discredit the legislation but also instil fear among the public by claiming that the proposed legislation would be harmful to one specific community, despite having no proof to substantiate the claim.
The letter also indulges in a false narrative against the proposed legislation by claiming that it will undermine the character of the Indian Republic even thought Union Home Minister Amit Shah has clarified in the Parliament that the proposed legislation has nowhere violated any provisions of the constitution.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also categorically stated that the proposed legislation has nothing do with Indian Muslims and had clarified that the bill is stated to give citizenship to persecuted individuals of the other countries rather than taking away of rights of any individuals. He had also stated that there was no violation of fundamental rights under Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian constitution.
There has been a concerted campaign against the historic Citizenship Amendment Bill which grants citizenship to minorities belonging to the three countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to give Indian citizenships to religiously persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
People belonging to Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsi or Christian communities from these three countries who had come to India before 2014 can apply for Indian citizenship after the bill becomes law.
It is pertinent to mention that the same group of intellectuals have been associated with various political movements and hit jobs against the ruling BJP government since it came to power in 2014. The campaign which started with Award Wapsi and ‘Intolerance’ movement, has now shockingly reached to an extent that these ‘activists’ are even willing to join hands with anti-Indian forces in a bid to discredit Narendra Modi government.
In the past, there have been several such open-letters, statements, which has been devoid of facts and any rationale, issued against the government as part of their political propaganda. The same set of people had recently written a letter claiming that atrocities against ‘Muslims and Dalits’ have increased in India. The letter had also claimed that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has become a ‘provocative warcry’ and this is helping the lynching incidents against Muslims and Dalit.
Interestingly enough, Anand Teltumbde, an alleged Urban Naxal accused in the Elgar Parishad case, was also a signatory of these letters.
The so-called celebrities and intellectuals have also not cared to note that many of the ‘hate crimes’ have turned out to be fake. In many incidents, the so-called victims had been found to falsely claim that they were being forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
This is, however, not a recent phenomenon. In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, there were multiple attempts by the so-called intellectuals and celebrities to claim ‘minorities are under attack’ and ‘democracy is in danger’. However, the people of India overlooked and rejected these prejudiced campaigns against the ruling dispensation and voted the BJP back to power.