Amalendu Upadhyaya
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The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (CAD) that promises to open the door for Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis who got into India (on or before December 31, 2014) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, facing religious persecution, was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 9, 2019.  This bill transgressing the fundamental soul of the democratic-secular polity of the country was passed in less than 8 hours due to RSS/BJP rulers enjoying brute majority in Lok Sabha. Sadly, it happened on the eve of International Human Rights Day, the 10th December. It would replace the Citizenship Act, 1955 which made no such distinction. 

It is not difficult to understand that it
is the first step in the direction of 
bringing in a more monstrous law for scrutinizing citizenship of all
existing Indian citizens. The NRC exercise is going to play havoc with crores
of Indians specially marginalized and Muslims.
Let us examine the Amit Shah’s defence of this Bill in the Indian Parliament
and outside one by one.

(1) CAD
attempts to bury the democratic-secular Constitution of India

Shah while piloting the Bill in Lok Sabha declared
that it was in accordance with the Indian Constitution as “the
Constitution is our religion.” PM who abstained from the House due to
election engagement in Jharkhand reposed full faith in Amit Shah by declaring
that “This bill is in line with India’s centuries old ethos of assimilation and
belief in humanitarian values”. [ ]

These are shameless lies. This bill, first of its kind
in independent India, sanctions balatant violation of Article 15 of the
Constitution which decrees that “no person shall be discriminated on the
basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth”. This bill claims
that it is an amendment to the existing citizenship law, Citizenship
Act of 1955. However, it is against the existing law as under this Act Indian
citizenship could be acquired by birth, descent, registration, naturalization
or incorporation of territory. Thus the
present bill violates the secular character of the Indian Constitution which
was declared to be one of the four inviolable pillars of the polity.

(2) It is part
of global anti-Muslim polarizing agenda of RSS

Amit Shah while presenting this bill
declared that it was not against minorities. According to him, “under PM
Narendra Modi no minority needs to be afraid”. [ ] He seemed
to be a large hearted home minister who would welcome all “Those who come
here due to persecution, to save their religion and honour of the women of
their family…” [Ibid] The humanitarian Amit Shah argued “If
minorities are getting persecuted in neighbouring countries, we cannot be mute spectators.
We have to ensure their safety and dignity”. [ ]

However, his claims fall flat on the ground when we
read the bill. Persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists,
Christians and Parsis in Afghanistan, Pakistan and
Bangladesh are welcome but persecuted Muslims like Shias, Ahmedyas and Sufis not
eligible for this offer. According to RSS/BJP rulers persecuted Muslims were
not considered because they did not constitute a minority but were all Muslims.
Even illiterates know that in the three countries these above mentioned sects
have been declared as non-Muslims.

Amit Shah highly worried about religious persecution
in three Muslim countries is not bothered about the persecution of rationalist,
liberal and atheist writers, poets, bloggers and activists who in hundreds have
been killed by religious vigilante groups. For long time India has been
denouncing ethnic cleansing of Baloch nationalists. Thousands of them have been
killed by the Pakistani armed forces and hundreds remain missing. Since they
are Muslims they will not be welcome as refugees despite their continuous
ethnic cleansing!

And what about persecuted Uighur Muslim minority in China? According to a UN committee more than one million
Uighur Muslims and other Muslim groups had been detained in concentration camps
in the western Xinjiang region, where they were said to be undergoing
“re-education” programmes. [ ] Recently, US Congress overwhelmingly
approved a bill aimed at pressuring China over a brutal mass
on ethnic Muslims in the far west of
the country. [ ]
Amit Shah’s argument for not allowing persecuted Muslims from Pakistan,
Bangladesh and Afghanistan is that latter are not minorities in their respective
countries. But persecuted Uighur
Muslims are a religious minority in China. Denial of a refugee status to them
under the CAD 2019 only shows hatred for Muslims and kowtowing to the Chinese

Tragedy is soon to unfold
for Afghans who in hundreds, many of them women, migrated to India due to
excesses of Talibans. Once CAD becomes a law all these Afghan refugees are
going to be forced back into Afghanistan, large part of which is under Taliban
control for cleansing.

The love for Christians in the neighbouring
countries is more puzzling as after Muslims, this community has faced the
maximum violence at the hands of RSS goons. The most prominent ideologue of RSS
declared Indian Christians as ‘Internal threat number 2’ after Muslims who were
declared as ‘Internal threat number 1’.

[MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, p. 193.]  

Amit Shah’s farcical love for Christians is soon going to be exposed. In
next couple of days Indian Parliament will pass the Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill which will do away
with the nomination of Anglo-Indian members to the Lok Sabha and state
legislatures from January 25, 2020. Nomination to Anglo-Indians was provisioned
in the Constitution in order to give representation to a section of Christians
who were incapable of getting elected any member of their community due to
small number. In fact, despite this provision in force, since the 17th Lok
Sabha was constituted (more than six month back), the Modi government did not
nominate any member from the Anglo-Indian community to the House. [ ] The regime which
is bothered about the persecution of Christians across the borders is working
over-time to deprive them of all the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

BTW, once CAD becomes a law,
Taslima Nasreen will have to be deported to Bangladesh.

(3) Love for Sikhs, Jains and
Buddhists who are decreed as Hindus in India by RSS

Amit Shah’s love for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains
and Buddhists of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan is puzzling. As RSS
member he does not accord the status of independent religion to their
respective religions. His Guru Golwalkar taught him that Hindus should not be
divided into Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, “the Buddhists, the Jain, the
Sikh are all included in that one comprehensive word ‘Hindu'”.

[MS Golwalkar, The Spotlights, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1974, p. 171.]

(4) Mysterious cut-off

The cut-off date for seeking
refuge in India by the persecuted communities has been fixed on or before
December 31, 2014. It means that there has been no persecution of Hindus,
Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis in the three countries after December
31, 2014. It only shows complete disregard of the present reality in India’s
neighbourhood. The cut-off date was tailor made to assuage the mounting anger
of more than fifteen lakh Hindus who have been declared foreigners in Assam.
But it has opened the old wounds in Assam where organizations fighting for the
Assamese identity have risen in revolt against CAD.

 (5) Persecuted Tamil Hindus of Sri Lanka left
in the lurch

CAD is silent on Sri Lanka where large
scale massacre of Hindu Tamilians have taken place. The fascist Buddhist
organizations in Sri Lanka have been demanding Sri Lanka for Sinhalese only. Amit
Shah and his Hindutva government have brazenly betrayed the persecuted Hindu
Tamilians of Sri Lanka who were forced to migrate to India during the civil war
or still facing persecution there. Shockingly, this bill sacrifices safety of
even Hindus in the neighbourhood.

(6) Amit
Shah’s hypocrisy on ‘one nation, one legislation’

RSS/BJP rulers have been pro-active on the
demand that India is one nation and should have one law on each issue. [ ]
Interestingly, so far India had one citizenship law but CAD will give birth to
multiple laws of citizenship. The present bill exempts the whole of Arunachal
Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, almost the whole of Meghalaya, and parts of
Assam and Tripura, but keeps all of Manipur under its ambit which may also be
made an exception. Thus citizenship will be governed by plethora of laws
bidding good-bye to the goal of ‘one nation, one legislation’.

(7) CAD 2019 & NRC were scripted by the Guru of hate
Golwalkar in 1939

2019 is the resurrection of what the most important ideologue of RSS, Golwalkar
decreed in his 1939 book We or Our
Nationhood Defined
about the character of Indian nation. According to him
it was, it is and will remain an exclusive Hindu nation. Amit Shah while
presenting this bill declared that it was not against minorities. The reality
is that it is not only against the minorities but against democratic-secular
Constitution of India.  The RSS has been
allergic to the idea of an all-inclusive India since its birth in 1925.

Golwalkar declared that in

“Hindusthan , the land of the Hindus, lives and
should live the Hindu Nation…Consequently only those movements are truly
‘National’ as aim at rebuilding, re-vitalizing and emancipating from its
present stupor, the Hindu Notion”. 

[MS Golwalkar, We or Our Nationhood Defined,
Bharat Publication, Nagpur, 1939, p. 43]

He went to the extent of declaring that all those who
did not believe in establishing the Hindu nation “are either traitors and
enemies to the National cause, or, to take a charitable view, idiots”. [MS
Golwalkar, We
or Our Nationhood Defined
, Bharat Publication,
Nagpur, 1939, p. 44.]

Golwalkar like other RSS leaders was a
great fan of Hitler and Mussolini. Glorifying the genocide of Jews by Nazis he

“German Race
pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up the purity of the Race
and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the
Semitic Races—the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh
impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root,
to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to
learn and profit by.”
[Italicized for emphasis]

[M.S. Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood
, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 35.]

Golwalkar unhesitatingly wanted to model
his Hindu Rashtra or Nation on Hitler’s totalitarian and fascist pattern as is
clear from the following words of his in the same book:

“It is worth bearing well in mind how
these old Nations solve their minorities [sic]
problem. They do not undertake to recognize any separate element in their
polity. Emigrants have to get themselves naturally assimilated in the principal
mass of the population, the National Race, by adopting its culture and language
and sharing in its aspirations, by losing all consciousness of their separate
existence, forgetting their foreign origin. If they do not do so, they live
merely as outsiders, bound by all the codes and conventions of the Nation, at
the sufferance of the Nation and deserving no special protection, far less any
privilege or rights.

are only two courses open to the foreign elements, either to merge themselves
in the national race and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as
the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet
will of the national race. That is the only sound view on the minorities [sic]
problem. That is the only logical and correct solution. That alone keeps the
national life healthy and undisturbed. That alone keeps the nation safe from
the danger of a cancer developing into its body politic of the creation of a
state within a state.
“[Italicized for emphasis]

[M.S. Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood
, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. 47.]

Surprisingly, a noted Congress leader, M.
S. Aney, also known as Loknayak

, agreed to write a foreword for We or Our Nationhood Defined, a terribly anti-minority and
pro-Nazism/Fascism booklet. Golwalkar’s choice for him was understandable as,
though being a Congress leader, Aney subscribed to the idea of Hindus being a
separate nation and subsequently India being essentially a Hindu nation.

However, even for a sympathizer of Hindu
nation like Aney, the extreme ideas demanding total subjugation and cleansing
of minorities propounded by Golwalkar in the booklet were unpalatable. Aney,
rightly realizing that for Golwalkar the terms, ‘minority’ or ‘foreign race’
meant only Muslims, tried to distance himself from the totalitarian kind of
solutions prescribed by Golwalkar.

“I find that the author, in dealing with the problems of the
Mohmeddans’ [sic] place, has not
always borne in mind the distinction between the Hindu nationality and Hindu
sovereign state. Hindu nation as a sovereign state is entirely a different
entity from the Hindu nation as a cultural nationality. No modern state has
denied the resident minorities of different nationalities rights of citizenship
of the state if they are once naturalized either automatically or under the
operation of a statute.”

[M.S. Golwalkar, We
Or Our Nationhood Defined
, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, p. xiii.]

Interestingly, these critical comments of
Aney were removed in next editions of the book.

RSS/BJP rulers led by diehard Hindu
nationalists like Modi and Amit Shah are working overtime (they claim to be
working 18 hours a day!) to convert democratic-secular India into a Hindutva
theocracy. With  capitulated Parliament
and judiciary, the only hope is that people of India would resist this undoing
of democratic-secular India.

Shamsul Islam

December 10, 2019


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