With the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in the Rajya Sabha with 125 against 105 votes, the legislation is becoming a reality. The bill is a sharp dagger piercing the chest of the concept of secular democratic republic. The sum and substance of CAB is that it gives validity to the granting of citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. But what home minister Amit Shah said while moving the bill in parliament is that there is no need for Indian Muslims to live in fear and they are being made to fear without any reason by others. And then there are also the simpletons who hold that since Muslims are unlikely to enter India as refugees from the countries listed in the bill, and ask why Muslims should be worried about it.
However, as a matter of fact, this is not an issue of granting citizenship to a few refugees/immigrants. The crux of the problem is that being not a Muslim has been made a criterion for a law of the country. Thus the bill becomes an official document of virtually declaring Muslims as second class citizens. It is a fundamental tenet in RSS's 'bunch of thoughts' that if Muslims want to live in this country, they should do so as citizens in tier two. As such, 11 December 2019 will be remembered as the day on which our constitution gave way to the subversive theory of RSS.
How our land which was ruled earlier by regional kings and feudal rulers, became a country that it is now, is common knowledge. The chain that united the people, who were scattered in different streams, is our stable and robust constitution rich with its progressive values. It is one of the finest constitutions of the world which celebrates pluralism and sees every person as equal. It is the values upheld by such a constitution of which the Modi-Amit Shah team has now written an obituary.
This will only help disintegrate our country. As it is, the nation is currently experiencing the damage inflicted by the Hindutva regime on its economy, which is only bound to intensify in the future. The CAB will only cause the country, already economically weakened, to weaken it socially and politically too. Viewed thus, this bill constitutes an act against the nation.
Following the CAB, the Modi government's next aim is to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country; Amit Shah has already made it clear in parliament too. The Muslims of northern India are a segment who struggle to make both ends meet on a daily basis. A good majority of them may not possess their own birth certificates. Or worse, many of them may not even know what that document is. It is in a country populated by crores of such people that NRC is going to be implemented asking them to produce official documents of even their previous generation. It is dead certain that those hapless people will not be able to produce them. Amit Shah may be planning to label them then as infiltrators and consign them to concentration camps. It is when we place the citizenship bill in this NRC-linked perspective that we will be convinced of the hazards hidden in CAB.
Right at the time Narendra Modi came to power with a stronger majority, there were forecasts of such legislations. They are now taking out the controversial issues in their basket one by one. The next target will be uniform civil code. Most of the law-making exercises resorted to by Narendra Modi since he took office a second time, have targeted at Muslim as the 'other'. The very formaton of RSS, its activities and mobilisation of its following are all done with a Muslim other placed in focus. What has happened now is that all of that has assumed an official/governmental status. The march of Indian Muslims since independence has so far been at the face of divisive schemes of RSS. But in the process, that has given them sufficient experience of reality. Using the insights gained from such experiences, that community therefore will have to evolve the strategy to tackle the divisive schemes being officially devised. But nobody should be under the illusion that this is an issue that affects Muslims alone. The central government is in the process of implementing a dispensation that makes India no more what it is. And the tragic impact of that will affect the entire country. The onus to resist that, therefore, falls on every one.