CAA & NRC: A ‘decitizonisation’ plan for minorities in India
Shahanas P. Maliakkal
Enough is Enough. This was the aura spreading everywhere. This time it is against the preamble of our constitution.
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a [SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC] and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all; FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION”-the preamble of Indian constitution
The soul of Indian Constitution is now violated by the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the Parliament on 11th December 2019. The ruling party and the government think that India is their Khandani jageer (Ancestral Property) and they can divide us on the basis of religion. To say the truth and the loud truth, this nation belongs to Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and numerous other religions and subdivisions. Hindusthan kisi ka bhi khandani Jageer nahi hein na hamare wujood thumhare Ehsaan hein (India is not any body’s ancestral property and our identity is our right and not a favour bestowed to us by anybody).
Current government of India has clearly violated the preamble of Indian constitution under CAA by discriminating the rights of its citizens on the basis of religion. Again, the freedom of thought and expression is in grave danger, suppressed by brutal forces and even denied the opportunity to assemble peacefully. When we look at all these constitutional parameters, we can see that justice is discriminative, liberty of thought and expression is in jeopardy, equality of opportunity is gone with the wind and they are dividing the nation on religious grounds and thus hampering the unity again.
Even to resort to the claim that the government will do a nation-wide registry under National Register of Citizens (NRC) and whoever can produce the documents can be safe, sounds utterly foolish. To say that YOU are YOU, what you need is documents. Reckoning the fact that still a sizeable proportion of population are still below poverty line, are illiterate and with little access or know how of creating an identity documents, the promise of granting a citizenship on the basis of ability to produce the identity documents looks like a Tuglak dream. Even government offices in a well-developed and fully literate state like Kerala can give you huge frustration, if you have ever tried to access a document through them by a proper channel. The multiple trips to the offices or moving from one table to another is a nightmare even for educated people. Then just imagine the plight of illiterate sections of the society.
Any country in the 21st century needs a national registry for all its citizens, and no one is against it if it is done in a fair and just way. When a sizeable proportion of the population has no access to proper sanitation, proper toilet facilities (still open defecation is a major concern in many parts of India), education, health care, child labour, human trafficking at a time when the government is ready to spend 3000 crores on building a statue!. When you are telling us to dig our ancestor’s graves and find the documents you need to remember that you haven’t created a system where every birth was ensured in a safe hospital environment and every child’s birth was registered so far. When you have not created a system in the first place how could you expect the most vulnerable to create them to prove what they are. Have you ensured that every child who is born in India is born in a safe hospital environment? Have you ensured that they all have access to education and can access minimum 3 square meals a day? Have you ensured that all the births were registered in this country? If you have not done your basics right, then it is better to concentrate on your basics.
NRC with CAA is a package well designed to challenge and eventually ‘decitizonise’ the poor minorities and Dalits in the country. Even for a minute if we believe the government that this exercise will not affect the Indian citizens, how can they assure that? How sure they are its not going to be another demonetization exercise? Millions of people queued up in front of the banks for days to retrieve their hard-earned money. What was the result of it? A marginal 0.7% was the unaccounted money when 99.3% of the currency was recovered by the RBI at the end of it. Decitizonisation, another fearmongering exercise, will have the same fate as the demonetisation, but it will make millions of people to run from pillars to post in the next coming months and years to come. Is that worth? A country that can successfully launch a space mission to Mars don’t have any better intelligent plan to track the illegal immigrants within the country? What a shame! After all is that what the country needs now? What about country’s slipping economy and GDP growth? education and employment of the youth? One thing is sure, it’s not demonetisation or decitizonisation but ‘demonsterisation’ is what we need to free India from the hands of two monsters who are at the realm of power. We as Indians need to rise up and say that the king is naked.