Not in My Name campaign’s protest against CAB
December 12, 2019
WHAT IS THE CAB?
The Citizenship Amendment Bill proposes to offer Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Muslims have been excluded. It is the Government’s argument that minorities of these three countries face persecution on the basis of religion.
WHAT DOES THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION SAY?
Those who framed our Constitution made sure that religion and citizenship were delinked. Put together in the immediate aftermath of Partition, which witnessed the barbaric killing of lakhs of people and the uprooting of millions, the Constitution of India chose to strike out in a direction that surprised the world: our constitution guarantees citizenship irrespective of religion or any other identity. India was to be a country that belonged to all who were born here – irrespective of their other identities. It is this sense of belonging that has kept India together.
WHY IS CAB DANGEROUS?
In the next few days Parliament will decide whether we continue to be an India that belongs to all. CAB is a direct constitutional assault on Muslims with the aim of ultimately disenfranchising the community. With the CAB, we are being dragged back by more than seventy years, to follow the path of nations with a narrow minded view of citizenship, with the inevitable consequence of further divisions, partitions, enmity and violence. To link the idea of citizenship with religion will open the floodgates for competing national aspirations based on religion, language, ethnicity and myriad other identities. The Bill will ensure that India is broken into pieces and India will not survive this assault.
WHAT IS THE JUSTIFICATION BEING MADE FOR CAB?
The argument that the Bill protects minorities who face religious persecution in our neighbourhood is bogus. If this was the sole basis for offering citizenship then this should be extended to Ahmadiyas and Shia Muslims from Pakistan, Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, Uighur Muslims from China and Tamil Hindus and Muslims from Sri Lanka. Why are they being excluded? We know why. The NRC process in Assam has left the BJP red faced because approximately 12 lakh Hindus, most of them poor, have been excluded from the registry. A process that cost thousands of crores and left many hundreds of thousands pauperised is being set aside by a government that until yesterday was claiming the implementation of NRC as an achievement. The CAB is a desperate attempt to ensure that the 12 lakh Hindus identified as foreigners can still get Indian citizenship. The BJP government has time and again declared its intent to extend the NRC process over the entire country. The CAB aims to assure Hindus that their citizenship will not be under question: Muslims receive no such assurance because the RSS/BJP sees them as "foreign" to India.
The Hindutva regime of hatred survives on creating differences, divisions and enmities. At a time when we should be unitedly dealing with an unprecedented economic crisis, growing unemployment, and the roll back of support for public funded education, we will be spending many more thousands of crores in a process that is once again bound to fail. It will create unimaginable hardships for the poor who will be scrambling for documents to ensure that their names appear in the NRC. The intent of the CAB and NRC is to target Muslims, but eventually the suffering will be borne by all Indians, irrespective of religion.
WHY SHOULD WE RESIST THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CAB AND NRC?
The fight against CAB and NRC is the fight for a united India and the Indian constitution. If this country has to survive then both these processes have to be STOPPED. If we don’t come out today and say that CAB and NRC are #NotInMyName, there may not be a tomorrow. It has to be now or never!
Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.