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Hiding agendas by creating confusion

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on January 04, 2020 with No Comments

Members of Parliament were given the copies of the bill in the morning and ruling party along with its alliance partners made sure that the bill gets passed by evening. The very next day, the bill was put up in the Rajya Sabha (The Upper House) and the government managed the show well to get the bill passed there too. The option of sending the bill to the select committee was turned down after a voting as the ruling party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his well trusted man the Home Minister Amit Shah ensured that the opposition can’t have any say in passing of the bill.

The protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019  is now a protest all across India, yet the reasons for the protest vary. Some are protesting because the CAA allegedly violates the secular identity, as it doesn’t have any provision for granting citizenship to Muslims while the Hindus, Sikh, Jains, Buddhists from Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan can be granted. Yet others believe that while the CAA itself is harmless for Indians, however when combined with the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), it will become a tool to exclude the Muslim population of the country. The Exercise ran into controversy and against general expectation.  Out of 19 lakh found out of the NRC in Assam, a majority were Hindus, and included families of certain prominent faces. The names of family members of ex President of India Fakrudin Ali Ahmed were not there in the list of citizens! A Kargil war veteran finds himself as a non citizen of India! Being an ex army officer, all his required data should have been available with the Ministry of Defense. Imagine the plight of those poor, who never have been to school.

With various kinds of opinions being expressed for the nationwide protests that have led to an unfortunate loss of lives, one would have expected the government to clear the air.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to tone down fears by saying there is no proposal for a nationwide NRC even though Home Minister Amit Shah had said in Parliament just a few weeks ago that the exercise was a certainty. Now with the Cabinet nod for the NPR upgrade, it is clear that the government has not really backed down on its NRC project. More grey areas have emerged after Prime Minister Narendra Modi has publicly contradicted home minister Amit Shah’s assertion that a nationwide NRC will be prepared by 2024.

The statements being made by the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and senior BJP leaders, aimed at clearing the air, are only adding to the confusion as the protests against CAA-NRC do not show any signs of dying down. To add to the plight of those protesting, several states, including those ruled by NDA’s allies and those parties which supported the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament, have objected to the NRC and asserted that they would not allow its implementation.  After a backlash,  ministers and BJP spokespersons have been pressed to convince people that there was absolutely no link between the CAA and NRC as the former was only meant to speed up citizenship for persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan and had no effect on Indian citizens.

However TV cameras do not lie and Amit Shah’s promise to the Bengal electorate during the 2019 campaign that CAA would precede NRC is on record for everyone to see and hear. The NPR-NRC- CAA link is as clear as daylight and the West Bengal, Kerala,Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha  chief ministers have already decided to stop the NPR project in their states.

With cases of sedition being filled against the protestor, there is hardly any attempt to sit with the protestors and end the unrest. Perhaps the government wants this to linger on. As this creates a situation where none is talking about the failing economy, spiraling prices, highest ever unemployment rates.


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