Since 12th DECEMBER 2019 CAA ,Citizenship (amendment)Act was given assent by the President of India after being passed in both houses of Parliament , India is on the boil as protests all over have erupted against the law that makes it easier to grant Indian citizenship to non Muslims minorities(Hindus ,Sikhs ,Christians ,Buddhists parsis Jains ) who entered India on or before 31st December 2014. of three neighbouring countries namely Afghanistan ,Bangladesh, Pakistan .
The unease over Assam ,picturesque tea growing state , is over the fears and apprehensions that inclusion of ‘outsiders’ would dilute them culturally and demographically.
It is necessary to understand the background to these fears about ethnic diversity of the region.
Between 1979 and 1985 All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) spearheaded a movement against illegal migration from Bangladesh ,resulting in violence and insurgencies by other outfits including United Liberation Front of Assam leaving thousands dead.
Consequently Assam Accord was signed in 1985 aiming to address two key disputes .One to stop ‘foreigners’ from Bangladesh and secondly to ensure constitutional safeguards for the Assamese citizens.
The cutoff date was agreed to be 25th March 1971 for expelling the illegal migrants and clause 6 of the Accord stated ” constitutional legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect ,preserve and promote the cultural social linguistic identity and heritage of Assamese people”.
So Assam agitates against the CAA ,AASU(All Assam Student Union) filed the petition against the Act.
As per census of 2011Assam has population of 3.12 crores, 61.47% Hindus ,34.22% Muslims .Around 12% is Tribal ,Bodos etc. Tribal states of North east have got immunity ,protection from the CAA unlike Assam.
The updated (NRC), National Register of Citizens was commenced by BJP in the state of Assam to identify illegal immigrants and as a result 2 million people seem to have lost their citizenship . 1.3 million are Hindus .
The unexpected peculiar results probably must have prompted the Center Govt to push through CAA so that citizenship could be accorded legally to these Hindus and other non Muslim minorities if any.
It is obvious that BJP did not anticipated such a backlash.
In a damage control exercise Prime Minister Shri Modiji tweeted addressing to Assam that his government was “constitutionally committed to safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese people”. “No-one,” he said, “can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture”.
In rest of the country the protests are against CAA for the exclusionary nature of the Act and the threat to the secularism.
The protests against the CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) have triggered all across the country killing at least sixteen people in Uttar Pradesh only ,turning violent in certain other parts of the country on 19.12.2019.
In the Capital New Delhi the peaceful protest suddenly turned violent once a private car was torched in Darya Ganj leading to the lathi charge and use of water canon to quell some of the unruly miscreants.
The Govt resorted to curfew and suspension of internet services all across the affected cities of the country .
In Mangaluru (Karnataka) two persons were killed on Friday in firing by police on a group of protestors against Citizenship Amendment Act ( CAA). The town is under curfew .As many as 33 policemen and 5 civilians were injured on 19th December violence.
In view of the protests all across the country Home Ministry assured and said there would be no discrimination against Muslims and undocumented people as feared.
However the opposition parties have gathered momentum to echo fierce opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act CAA as they see clear violation of the Constitution of India. For instance Mr Pawar said “ not just minorities but those who think about country’s unity and progress are opposing CAA and NRC( National Register of Citizens”.
Sonia Gandhi leader Congress Party said “ Citizenship Amendment Bill passage marks ‘dark day’ in Constitutional history of India: The Bill fundamentally challenges the idea of India that our forefathers fought for and in its place creates a disturbed ,distorted and divided India where religion will become a determinant of nationhood.”
The constitution of India is unique in its commitment to the fundamental rights
JUSTICE, EQUALITY,FRATERNITY, LIBERTY. to one and all irrespective of religion ,caste, creed and colour.
India is equally committed to its SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC ethos in letter and spirit.
Hence Citizenship Amendment Act is seen as a flagrant violation of the Constitution. by both the opposition and the protestors.
The Home Minister Mr Amit Shah has been explaining in emphatic manner on the subject.
Recently on AAJTAK Mr shah said “ I want to appeal to the students that they should study this Act in details and then if they feel there is something wrong they can come forward and hold discussions with the government.We are ready to explain our position.”
It is to be seen whether Mr Modi’s and Mr Amit Shah’s assurances would placate the protesters. .
BJP needs to understand the elementary truth of governing that by sparking numerous insurrections across the nation is not the route to make India a super power and instil faith in the people . By winning the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 ,the party mistook it for an approval of Hindutva Politics. Looking at the backlash after passing CAA it is obvious now that people cannot be shoehorned into narrow politics.
Let us hope BJP shows courage leadership to take broader view and address the problem with statesmanship rather than from the narrow Prism thus serving the nation well. Long live great India.