On account of their religion, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Christians, Parsis, and Buddhists of three neighbouring Islamic countries were persecuted. They came to India seeking shelter. Through totally constitutional means, India stood by them by bringing in CAA 2019. Every single question asked in the Parliament of India was responded to by the Home Minister of India. It is one thing for political parties to have opposed this, but what was simply shocking was how the English language media simply went berserk after the Act was passed.
They first asked if this is the most important thing that needs to be done. The argument was killed almost instantly because, in the same Parliament session where the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed, GoI also passed fifteen other bills that include The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, The SPG Act, the merging of Daman & Diu and Dadar & Nagar Haveli Union Territories amongst others!
They then asked why this was done in such a hurried fashion, without any proper debate. There is a 2003 committee report tabled in Parliament recommending CAA. Bill first introduced in July 2016. Sent to another committee which submitted a report in Jan 2019. Lok Sabha passed it in Feb 2019 but Rajya Sabha rejected it. Bill introduced again (with changes) in December 2019. Both houses of Parliament passed it. If they slept for 16 years while the debate was going on, is it the country’s fault?
They then said BJP used brute majority to push through the bill that is “unconstitutional”. Turns out the Congress party demanded the same in the year 2003. Turns out that the Left parties also demanded the same in the year 2012. In addition to the BJP, parties such as BJD, JD(DU), TDP, YSRCP, SAD, AIADMK, Shive Sena, MNPP, NPF, NDPP, MNF also supported the bill. How does this amount to pushing a bill through brute majority?
They then asked how dare you exclude Muslims. When asked to explain if Muslims are persecuted in a Muslim country for practising Islam, they had no answer. When explained that not a single Indian Muslim will be impacted by CAA, they refused to listen. When explained that any migrant from anywhere in the world can still apply for citizenship, they exhibited unparalleled stubbornness in accepting the explanations.
They then asked why not give citizenship to other persecuted groups from other countries. When told that India has already given citizenship to nearly 4,61,000 Tamils (yes, nearly FOUR LAKHS) from Srilanka from 1964 to 2008, they went into hibernation. When told about how India gave citizenship to Hindus from Uganda who were thrown away from that country, they pretended as if Uganda didn’t even exist. The Home Minister of India made a special about the Dandakranya project of 1958 to rehabilitate persecuted tribals from the then East Pakistan. They ensured they didn’t print anything about this project!
Meanwhile, they were continuously resorting to violence. They damaged assets of the country. They burnt buses with people in them (luckily no one died). They beat up people. They first tried to mask the violence by calling them as mere “protests”. When arrested, they cried fascism. When prevented, they shouted emergency. When asked why they expected the state not to stop violence, they fell in line and begged compatriots to stop the violence.
They then asked again – how dare you decide not to give citizenship to Muslims? Turns out just in the past 5 years, nearly 600 Muslims were granted Indian citizenship based on existing rules. No new restrictions have been introduced going forward too. There is NO RULE in India that prohibits granting citizenship based on religion. So what do they do now?
They then moved away from CAA and said you are bringing in NRC to throw out Muslims. They were explicitly told that the modalities of a nationwide NRC haven’t even been discussed. They were told that no Indian citizen needs to be ever worried about anything. At multiple forums, by multiple ministers, many assurances were given that this baseless rumour is being only spread by those who hate the country. Clueless on how to react, they then introduced a whole new angle.
They then asked why you are doing NPR. They were then told that NPR was done before. They were told how NPR helps all governments plan their social schemes in a much robust fashion. While they refused to listen, except for Kerala and West Bengal governments, all other state governments have agreed to go ahead with the process of NPR.
They came up new slogans – kaagaz nahi dikhayenge, for example. When asked who asked for papers, no answer was forthcoming. When asked what papers were asked, no answer was forthcoming. Instead, they continued to get violent, post fake news and tears, merely because they didn’t have a way out of the trap they themselves laid.
They then told us that Modi was doing all this to divert attention. I wondered diversion from what? Because while they were busy repeating the same questions again and again, the government of India was busy with ushering in one of the biggest reforms in the Ministry of Defence – establishing the institution of Chief of Defence Staff; it was busy with one of the biggest reforms in the Ministry of Railways – the complete restructuring of the Railway Board; it was busy with solving the decades-old suffering of Bru-Reang refugees in Manipur; it was busy signing the Bodo Accordand bringing in closure to decades-old violence; it was busy with meeting business leaders and a multitude of citizen groups to prepare for the budget; it was busy trying to complete much delayed 24,000 crores infrastructure projects; and more. Why would any government want to divert attention from so many path-breaking initiatives?!
They are now wondering why their “protests” are failing. They are coming up with explanations that they failed because they linked it to Friday prayers! They failed to realise that they failed because of one simple reason – No Indian has lost his/her citizenship because of the CAA. This was their basic premise. It’s been two months, and not a single Indian lost his or her citizenship. Not a single Indian will lose his or her citizenship because of the NPR exercise. The NRC is not even defined yet.
Ordinary citizens have seen through the chicanery of the media and political industry that wanted to feed off baseless rumours and mindless violence. The handful left to “protest” is now unable to decide the way out!