Anti-CAA protests: Elixir for survival?
For a disgruntled demotivated Congress, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was like a shot of Red Bull.
For a disgruntled demotivated Congress, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was like a shot of Red Bull. Something that not only gave it instant energy but also flared its imagination to disrupt a largely stable nation under Prime Minister Modi's leadership.
Jairam Ramesh, a senior Congress leader, recently admitted in an interview that the Congress today was facing an 'existential' crisis because of the electoral rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). These were his words,
"We are facing a crisis, the likes of which we have never faced in 135 years. We have seen electoral crisis in the past, but we have rebounded. We had two very bad defeats in 2014 and 2019, the scale of which we did not expect.
The magic wand theory of the Congress revival is over."
Perhaps what he said next gives away the party's intent.
"We have lost the art of public protest and the fire in the belly!"
This makes one wonder if for such a party on the brink of collapse, the CAA appeared as an elixir for survival. A chance to demonstrate fire in the belly, perhaps?
This Winter Session of Parliament saw the passage of The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) by both Houses of Parliament and received presidential assent to become an Act.
This nascent CAA that allows India to fulfill its commitment towards persecuted minorities from neighboring countries has not been introduced by the BJP. It was in 1947 that MK Gandhi said, "If minorities are treated as foreigners in their own land that they will not be able to stay there, in that case the duty of adjoining province on this side of the boarder will be to accept it with both arms and extend them all legitimate opportunities."
Later in 1950, as Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru is known to have said in the Parliament, "There is no doubt of course that those displaced persons who have come to settle in India are bound to have citizenship. If the law is inadequate in this respect, the law should be changed!"
The Modi-led BJP just stood by the commitment made years ago. But the Opposition, capitalising on the fact that many in the country especially the Muslims did not know the details of CAA, its history, its intent unleashed their ammunition and created a 'cauldron' of confusion, confrontation and conflict in the country.
While rioters took to street vandalising public property, celebrities and journalists settled in foreign lands spread venom through social media and sponsored articles in the press.
Not many know that CAA ensures that minorities persecuted by Muslim countries will be given Indian citizenship, but no Indian Muslim will ever be affected by it.
What the Congress never shared, in fact, hid, is that minorities in Pakistan (Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs etc) have reduced from 23 % to 3% over the last few decades and in Bangladesh, they dropped from 22% to 8%.
What happened to them? Were they forcibly converted, chased out of the country?
In India on the contrary, the Muslims flourished and grew in numbers – they were 9% at the time of partition but today they are 16% and growing!
Taking advantage of citizens' ignorance, lack of attention to detail and lack of knowledge on the nuances of the act, the Opposition and its allies launched a well-planned, coordinated, countrywide protests.
The demonstrations in several cities seem to be meticulously planned and highly coordinated. The agitators connected to groups in different parts of the same city, arranged seamless transport for rapid movement from one spot to another, every rioter had contact numbers of eminent lawyers, they were taught to access offline communication during internet shutdowns, were armed with stones large enough to crack skulls, were given petrol to burn vehicles, and home-made bombs.
Their slogans are fairly uniform indicating a scientific approach in creating a unified voice of persecution. In fact, they very carefully selected States where BJP is in power…!
But sadly, many protestors did not know why they were protesting while some who were fed with malicious material were so fearful that they ended up being more violent risking their own lives!
Asaduddin Owaisi, Member of Parliament from Hyderabad, knows very well that many Rohingya Muslims move freely in Hyderabad brandishing their fake Aadhaar cards. They are a threat to the nation, yet he instigates his fellowmen against National Register of Citizens (NRC). He also hides the fact that both Pakistan and Bangladesh have their own versions of NRC!
The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) is an independent and autonomous agency under Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan that manages the sensitive registration database of all the national citizens of Pakistan.
The NADRA is also responsible for issuing the computerised national identity cards to the citizens of Pakistan. It is one of the largest government database institution, employing more than 11,000 people in more than 800 domestic offices and five international offices.
It also claims to hold the record for maintaining the largest biometric database of citizens in the world. All databases are kept in extreme secrecy and security.
Try reaching their website? You are automatically blocked with this message - "The owner of this website (www.nadra.gov.pk) has banned the autonomous system number (ASN) your IP address is in (18209) from accessing this website."
Bangladesh has its own version of NRC.
In India, the NRC is an official record of those who are legal Indian citizens. It includes demographic information about all those individuals who qualify as citizens of India as per the Citizenship Act, 1955.
The register was first prepared after the 1951 Census of India and since then it has not been updated until recently. In 2014, the SC ordered the updation of the NRC, in accordance with Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship Rules, 2003 in all parts of Assam.
If Pakistan can have a NADRA, why not NRC for India?
Today, on 25 December, as the Good Governance Day is being celebrated in memory of former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee, it is important to know that it was in fact Manmohan Singh, in 2003 as the leader of Opposition asked the Vajpayee government to take initiative in giving Indian citizenship to those 'Hindu and Sikh refugees who have come to India from Pakistan and Bangladesh!
The Congress is not just hiding facts, lying blatantly but is also uprooting India's stability, compromising its safety in the name of secularism.
A last word of caution for all Indians….
As a part of CAA protests at Delhi Jamia Islamic University, the multilingual graffiti on the walls reveal something dangerous.
The graffiti in Hindi and English is about UNITY and SECULARISM but in Arabic which only Muslims can read and understand it says almost in a conclusive way 'There is no god other than Allahu Akbar'!
Why this mixed messaging? One for blind seculars and the rest for the ultimate goal keepers of Islam?
The CAA protests have done the country good. They have not only thrown up chameleons who managed to merge into our country's fabric for years but have also exposed the Congress's dangerous game that not even a secular mind could grasp until now!
(The writer is BJP leader, president, Futuristic Cities, global thought leader, advisor on smart cities, governance & policy)