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Jamia, AMU and many other anti-CAA agitations are “protests of entitlement”

It is time to say NO! The sense of entitlement stops here. The Constitution begins. You can’t intimidate Parliament by burning buses. And if the police is pelted with stones, they have every right to respond and control the situation.

Ever since the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now Act) was passed into law, protesters (better called rioters) have sought to intimidate the country by burning trains, burning buses, pelting stones and attacking police. The left liberal propaganda machine, both on mainstream and social media has been coordinating to create an image of a nation in flames.

The truth of course, is different. Outside the North East, where there might be long held fears stemming from a complicated history that caused pain on all sides, the violent protests elsewhere have been very localized to one group of people and one group of institutions. As Modiji said in Jharkhand yesterday, you can often identify them by their clothes.

In fact, the situation in Assam has improved very rapidly. On Saturday, curfew was relaxed from a full 9 am to 5 pm. This improved by an extra hour on Sunday, with curfew lifted from 9 am to 6 pm. It’s Monday and curfew today is lifted right from 6 am in the morning all the way to 9 pm. This leaves only the late night under curfew, which could not possibly be a huge inconvenience.

The epicenter of violence has moved to West Bengal, Jamia Millia University in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh. So much anger just because a tiny bit of justice was given to Hindu (and Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, etc) victims of Partition.

These can only be called “protests of entitlement.” These are not when something is taken from you. These are when you get angry that someone you previously considered subhuman is getting the same kind of privileges that you have. It’s a mixture of hatred and bigotry. Like KKK rallies against equal rights for African Americans.

Read: Anti-CAB protests: Delhi Deputy CM and other AAP leaders accuse Delhi Police of setting buses on fire at behest of BJP

What do these protesters/rioters feel entitled to?

First of all, they feel entitled to destroy public property, burn buses and trains and pelt stones at the police. The entitlement mentality of having “first right to resources” at work. The Govt of India announced this official policy during the dark UPA years. Actually, the media reporting around this 2006 statement missed a crucial point: the remarks were made by Dr. Manmohan Singh speaking in his official capacity of Prime Minister of India at a meeting of the National Development Council. This makes it much more than a mere remark from a politician; it becomes an official policy announcement by the Govt of India. However, I’m sure that well educated AMU and Jamia students would not have missed this serious point.

Second, they feel entitled to overturn a law passed by Parliament by violence on the streets. Thus placing raw street power above the legitimacy of the Indian state, the Indian Constitution and the electoral process. And why not? For long, intellectuals and academics have cultivated the myth of a certain “veto” when it comes to deciding who can rule over India. They felt entitled to that veto and now it is gone.

In fact, at institutions like Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University, it is easy to develop a perception of being above the law of the land. After all, both are fully government funded public universities. Yet both enjoy the status of “minority institution” which makes them almost independent from government control. Most significantly, neither Jamia nor AMU have implemented reservation for SC/ST and OBC students. Those “students” showing off banners of Dr. Ambedkar might want to think about the irony.

Read: AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan spotted leading the protests which turned violent in Delhi: Reports

Actually, I think they know the irony. They just don’t want to talk about it.

And yes, the Supreme Court has categorically ruled that Aligarh Muslim University cannot be a minority institution. Not today, but in 1967! This was not enforced and a special law was passed in 1981 granting AMU an exemption from the Constitution. Today AMU students are protesting because they think a law that grants special protection to Pakistani Hindus is against Constitution of India? Are we supposed to seriously believe this? Doesn’t it seem more likely that they want to be above the Constitution of India?

Third, do I even need to point out the entitlement behind chants of “Hinduon se Azaadi“?

It is time to say NO! The sense of entitlement stops here. The Constitution begins. You can’t intimidate Parliament by burning buses. And if the police is pelted with stones, they have every right to respond and control the situation. We have heard a lot about communities that are peaceful and believe in equality. This is a good time to prove it.

By not burning buses. By not standing in the way of persecuted, near defenseless and hopelessly outnumbered Pakistani Hindus getting asylum in India.

Over the last 70 years, India must have gathered hundreds of laws on the books giving some or other kind of special privilege to one community. The first time we have a law that gives something to vulnerable Hindus. Equal rights for “non-believers”, for women, for LGBTs, etc are here to stay. Not a step back on this.

There will be measures taken to ensure fairness for marginalized and vulnerable groups, exactly as permitted by the Constitution. Let me describe the Citizenship Amendment Act in a format such that even Dr. Manmohan Singh would like it. Let’s just say that persecuted religious minorities from undivided India shall have the first right to asylum in this country. Get it now?


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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

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