Social activist Harsh Mander on Tuesday asked what would happen to the 40 lakh people whose names were excluded from the draft NRC, and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the matter.
Mander was speaking at the 33rd annual symposium of Hans on Ethics of Democracy and Democracy of Ethics at the Ghalib Institute. Also speaking on the occasion were senior advocate Indira Jaising, Ashoka University Vice-Chancellor Pratap Bhanu Mehta and political theorist Kancha Ilaiah, among others.
Speaking about those excluded from the draft NRC, Mander said, “Neither the PM nor anyone else is ready to give them 25 days to be able to prove that they are also citizens. What will happen to these 40 lakh people? Are we thinking of another Partition or detention centres?” he said.
Mehta questioned the concept of nationalism. “There can be no nationalism without constructing an enemy. Also, the individual becomes secondary and you have to surrender to the identity of the group (nation). But for the same reasons, if we are scared of nationalism, we must also be scared of other kinds of groupism.”
He said identity politics had taken over, and that reservation had taken on a form of majoritarian politics. “Dalit history was not just a history of backwardness but of exploitation. That has been sidelined now,” he said.
Jaising spoke about the pressures of the judiciary. “I think every Indian should have a say in who should be the judge of the Supreme Court,” she said.