Our position is clear. We don’t accept the draconian Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. It is an outright violation of the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution. This new law is made on the premise that the non-Muslim minorities of our neighbours Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh face State persecution, though, in reality, Muslim minorities too face atrocities in these countries.
And if the persecution of minorities takes place in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, India too is prone to injustice against its minority communities.
The way Muslims have been excluded in the CAA is purely political. Politics works this way — Muslims will revolt against the unjust law, and when they revolt, the agenda of Hindus versus Muslims will be established.
In this polarisation, SCs, STs and OBCs will be forcibly clubbed as Hindus on one side, with Muslims the other side. In other words, there will be straightjacketing of two opposite poles.
By such politics, the social justice enlightenment created among SCs, STs and OBCs will be halted by giving them a Hindu identity and pitting them against Muslims. This will directly benefit the RSS and BJP’s primary agenda, which is to Hinduise SCs, STs, OBCs, to use them as tools for implementing an unjust law. India will thus see a revival of divisions on the basis of religion.
It is a plot and a conspiracy. Therefore, we fully resolve to stand against it.
The government’s claim of the law not being anti-Muslim is an utter lie. Many people in Assam have sufficient documents to claim citizenship but still they are not considered citizens. The Indian government has shoved them into detention centres. Hindus as well as Muslims have been affected, and of the Hindus, SCs, STs and OBCs form a large corpus. Many such genuine people have come to us. We are taking their fight to the Supreme Court.
In his speech on December 22 at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Indian Muslims had nothing to fear from CAA. How can one trust an oppressor, in the face of lack of transparency and trustworthiness from the government? Leave aside trust, the real thrust is on the anti-constitutional law. We will execute many rallies across India against such laws.
The Prime Minister earlier said those protesting and indulging in violence could be identified by the clothes they wear. Never in history has any prime minister given such an irrational statement. This was a veiled reference to Muslims. But it is the BJP that is responsible for creating and promoting commotion. Videos have emerged of people with links to the party wearing skull caps, kurta-pyjama, and destroying property.
In the age of social media, such propaganda has faced a backlash and found the BJP unprepared. The party never thought the entire country would revolt. Since they created this legislation, they have no option but to support it.
Non-BJP state governments too find themselves swept up in this Hindus vs Muslims narrative. These states are mostly run by, or with the aid of, the Congress or other regional parties. Since Parliament passed CAA, it is incumbent upon states to enforce it. Their statements that they won’t implement the law is just a desperate attempt to win back estranged SCs, STs and OBCs.
There is one possible solution. The Union Cabinet can pass a law that the situation in the country is not fine and thus CAA needs to be adjourned. If they can’t abolish the law, they can at least put a stay on this.
As a democratic right, we will increase agitations across the country. Prime Minister Modi deserves a thank you for offering us a wonderful opportunity to unite SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities across the country.
If they were not coming together earlier, the Prime Minister has made it possible in one shot.
The writer is the national president of BAMCEF and Bharat Mukti Morcha.
Suraj Yengde, author of bestseller Caste Matters, is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and a recipient of the ‘Rohith Vemula Memorial Scholar Award. He curates the fortnightly ‘Dalitality’ column.
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