In numbers we trust

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/12/2019 12:24:59 PM IST

 With brute majority in the Lok Sabha and through brilliant floor management in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP has again delivered on another election promise by enacting the highly controversial Citizen (Amendment) Bill 2019, after the earlier 2016 amendment lapsed in the Rajya Sabha. The passage of the CAB may be likened to an old idiom of lawyers: ‘when you don’t have the facts or the law, pound the table’. The BJP could not argue on facts or law to back up CAB but it pounded on the table with numbers. It is not only about the steamrolling of the controversial Citizen (Amendment) Bill 2019 in parliament but the manner in which differences of perceptions in democracy is being dispensed through brute majority. As commented in this column, the value of Indian democracy has been reduced to which party gets majority and not about enduring the spirit of constitutional democracy. The constitution is no longer absolute. It has become relative and can be altered or amended though majority vote under the dictum ‘might is right.’ After coming to power through democratic elections, unfortunately, the BJP has been altering the narrative of democracy from majority to majoritarian. The CAB is the agenda of BJP’s majoritarian Hindutva ideology. Like the abrogation of Article 370 under the guise of nationalism, the CAB also follows the same trodden path. In both cases, the BJP rejected persistent demands from opposition to refer the matter to a parliamentary panel. This may be because it has no space to accommodate divergence and believes it is the only nationalistic political organisation. The Indian Citizenship Act 1955 was amended in 1986,2003 and 2005 on the issue of Indian origins of applicants. However in 2015 the BJP sought a drastic amendment where the criteria was changed from origin to religion and the duration of residency reduced from 11 years to just six years. In the CAB 2019. The CAB is meant to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants who don’t need documents as proof that they have stayed in India for six years. The CAB was pushed through after the NRC in Assam ran aground when it failed to net Muslim immigrants. Instead, the NRC netted 20 lakh people, most of who are Bengali Hindus and a major chunk being Indian citizens who could not produce documents. Thus, the CAB for all practical purposes, is a blueprint for Assam. The illegal Bangladeshi Hindu immigrants were promised citizenship in 2014 and who the BJP hopes to establish a huge vote bank. Unfortunately, the CAB is like a treatment being worse than the disease and today has set Assam aflame. Originally immigrants under the Indian Citizenship Act are offenders. They are not refugees nor asylum seekers. The BJP has distorted the legal definition and given it the go by. If there is so much concern for the persecuted then the BJP should also consider the Tibetans and Sri Lankan Tamilians for granting citizenship as they are refugees and asylum seekers not illegal immigrants. In Assam, the CAB has lighted up the communal cinders of the pastand that could prove to be tragic. On this scale, no one can deny both Modi and Shah from being labelled as ‘promise keepers’. They promise and deliver; while the divided opposition can only crib and lament. However, merely delivering on promises should also not ignore the fact that divisive agendas will certainly prove disastrous for the country in the long run.

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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