Post Mortem

CAA ripped open the fallacy and fantasy of the BJP government

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/19/2019 11:32:59 AM IST

 A few days old Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is now a reality, but has ripped open the fallacy and fantasy of the BJP Government right, left and center. The beliefs and dreams of the RSS-BJP and its coterie came to a grinding halt for the last few days as both the houses of the Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and with the President’s assent it became an Act. More problems started to loom for the Government of India (GOI) being run by the BJP thought that there won’t be any drastic eventualities to CAA and business as usual would go on. But, to the total dismay of the GOI and RSS-BJP in particular, CAA turned out to be a night mare causing all sorts of problems to the GOI, BJP and its allies (regional parties) that support BJP because others view CAA as draconian. 

Many things seem to have taken for granted in the Bill and so there is no clarity and so cleavages between those “included” and “excluded” articulated without proper substantiation—but one thing became evident that the Muslims seeking citizenship from countries mentioned in particular have been left out. BJP never thought it would boomerang, but in fact hit the very core i.e., the North-eastern India which the ruling party seems to have taken for granted. Cutting across the country, protests initially started in Assam and then spread to NE India and to other parts. Added to these, the important segment BJP since 2014 has been targeting is the student community, and so BJP as usual seem to have taken for granted by infuriating the students of Jamia, wherein the police force of Delhi showed its brute force and attacked and injured the students. And this time it snowballed and thus spread to other Institutes and Universities across the country. It did spread like wild-fire though the communication networks have been cut. 

Police brutality was so glaring and handling of the students by lathi charging and shooting with rubber bullets had angered the young students’ fraternity bringing before us a glaring image—the future of India parading like criminals. Actions of the Government particularly with the students in recent times show that it’s turning out to be police raj wherein excesses and brute display of force can be seen which have added more fuel to the anger of the students’ community. As AL Sharpton said that “We’re not anti police -- we’re anti-police brutality.” Therefore, the students are not against the police, but the brutality manifested against them should be condemned by all right thinking people because showing brute force against unarmed civilians who are citizens—the present and future of India be condemned. The BJP Government wants that everyone should follow its notions of democracy, nationalism and India which is hard to realize because it should reckon with the fact that only a minuscule of people less than 40 per cent agree with BJP’s conceptions and the rest totally disagree and so it should not resort to bulldozing politics. 

In tune to the current scenario, former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, while delivering the second edition of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Memorial Lecture on the 16th December 2019 in New Delhi said “The Indian electorate has time and again conveyed to the ruling party that goes on to form the government that yes, they may be entitled to form the government with the majority of seats won by them, but they are also to take into consideration all those people who may not have voted them … It is also to be noted that every time a government has behaved on the contrary, the voter has punished the incumbent in the elections that follow.” He added that “… No party or leader had won a 51% majority since 1951. In comments that came in the wake of protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act, Mukherjee said an “… overwhelming majority” in the legislature should not be an excuse to do “anything and everything”. “Unfortunately, this message of the Indian electorate has never been clearly understood by political players. That is why we think we can do anything and everything when we have an overwhelming majority in the legislature. But that should not be the case.” 

These are the thoughts coming after decades of experience in various capacities that should be taken seriously by the ruling political class right across the party-lines. A clear reminder by the former president Pranab Mukerjee to the ruling dispensation to mend ways of governance by not abusing the power vested with them. Protest and dissent are part of democracy, and by all means be allowed. Those who disagree to the dominant view or bill or act to be introduced or already introduced which they feel draconian in democratic ways would defy because how else an individual or a group or a community or electorates vent their disapproval to something for which they are against. There are ways to deal when students or citizens who democratically show their protest, but by sending the police in the University or colleges or libraries charging them with lathis showing excessive force is not good. Protests against the CAA have spread to many university campuses—at least 30 campuses across the country expressing their solidarity to Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University. News of police excesses spread and thus sparked off. 

Evidently CAA which the students thought would affect the present and future of India’s plural ethos and understood the deliberate wily moves of the ruling dispensation cleverly pushed through CAA. BJP worked out a schema to isolate those who they do not like and include those they want to. The present and future of India understood the sinisterous move of the BJP and thus felt that the need to express their vent on the issue through protests. Many do not approve of the ways that the Government brought CAA that shows a number of fault lines when it comes the conception of citizenship and how it is going to be determined—inclusion and exclusion on the basis of BJP’s guidelines. Those who think that “might is right” should recognize the fact that it’s not right all the time and it cannot hold good always, there are other ways to go about. 

It is in this context, welcoming CAA, Vice Chairman of the National Minority Commission George Kruian said “good” and added that “The NCM is flooded with messages from Christian leaders of all denominations across the country welcoming the new legislation. They tell me “justice has finally been done to Christians who are victims of draconian blasphemy laws, religious conversions and abductions.” He also pointed out that “…minorities in India are safe and therefore do not migrate elsewhere unlike minorities in neighboring countries. The CAA does not affect the prospects of communities other than the six communities mentioned.” His statement may endorse those who wrote to him and certainly does not represent the views of all the Christians across the country. CAA cannot be welcomed and shall never be accepted in the present form because of numerous lacunas. Though the PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah say now that it won’t affect Muslims and others in Northeast and rest of India, it should be seen as a window to the realization of Hindu Rashtra which the present dispensation wants to work a scheme on the basis of Majority and Minority on religious ground and not on the basis of Article 14 of Constitution. I am reminded of the period in Europe in 1930s where the totalitarians came first at those who opposed them strongly, then against those who defied and then at those minorities who for their survival and positions towed their moves for survival. Let us not pass frivolous statements and talk for the entire Christian community. To conclude, John Berger’s idiom is apt and sheds light to the present context we live in: “Protest and anger practically always derive from hope, and the shouting out against injustice is always in the hope of those injustices being somewhat corrected and a little more justice established.”

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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