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Stand Up for the Constitution #Scrap CAB 2019 #NoNRC say Indians!

Over 720 Indians, writers, actors, activists and citizens are speaking up against both, CAB 2019 and the NPR-NRC

10 Dec 2019

Citizenship bill

Here is the text of one more, comprehensive statement of protest from a wide section of Indians on the Modi govt’s recent moves on citizenship. From south to north, these Indians have offered an informed and nuanced view on why both policy decisions of the centre are misguided and worse, unconstitutional.

Citizenship has been defined as the right to have rights. Citizenship in India is based on the non-negotiable principles of equality and non-discrimination. India, when it became Independent (1947) and thereafter when it firmly rooted itself in an inclusive and composite nationhood, in 1950, accepted that people of all faiths, creeds, castes, languages and genders, equally and without discrimination are Indian.

In sharp contrast to this foundational commitment and history, over the past six years, there are clear political moves to fundamentally assault and redefine this Constitutional basis of both Indian nationhood and citizenship. Especially now, with the newly drafted proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 (that is now proposed to be re-introduced in the 2019 Winter Session of Parliament) and second through a hurried, and not thoroughly debated all India-level NPR-National Register of Citizens (NRC) process.

Both these moves need to be categorically protested and condemned.

CAB (2019) makes a promise to entertain requests for refuge and citizenship to all those ‘persecuted minorities’ from three Islamic countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who reached India before either 2014 or later. The amendments by giving special privileges to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jain, Parsis and Christians from these three countries, single out Muslims for exclusion. For example, neither the Ahmadiyas, who are undoubtedly persecuted in Pakistan, nor do possible asylum seekers like the Rohingyas from Myanmar or Tamils from Sri Lanka have any place here.

For the first time there is a statutory attempt to not just privilege peoples from some faiths but at the same time relegate another, Muslims, to second-rate status. The proposed amendments to India’s 1955 citizenship law (Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019) need to be strongly rejected on these counts alone, in that they are divisive and discriminatory in character. The CAB, 2019 is at odds with Constitutional secular principles and a violation of Articles 13, 14, 15, 16 and 21 which guarantee the right to equality, equality before the law and non discriminatory treatment by the Indian state.

This regime threatens to go further. Through the process of enlisting for a National Population Register (NPR) and thereafter a National Register of Citizens(NRC), the present government appears intent on causing huge upheavals within Indian society. Assam has, especially since 2013 been reeling under the impact of this ill-conceived exercise. Apart from the huge material costs, the human costs have been immeasurable. Death, families torn apart; detention camps and foreigners’ tribunals; fear, the spectre of statelessness – this is what the ordinary people, especially minorities, Dalits, women, children and the poor have had to suffer and continue to suffer. The worst impacted are women and children.

A nation-wide NRC, will unleash widespread division and suffering among people across the country – rather than address the critical needs, from food security and employment to the annihilation of discrimination based on caste, community and gender, to the freedom to speak, worship, and live as our diverse people choose. Today 19 lakh persons (1.9 million live a broken existence in Assam with the sword of statelessness hanging over them. Does the rest of India want to tread this path?

Never mind this history, the Indian government wishes now to replicate an Assam like trauma on the entire Indian people. While the government has announced, or rather decreed, that the NPR survey would begin from April 2020 onwards, there has been no public debate and clarity –in parliament or elsewhere-- on the criteria of inclusion and exclusion within this ‘register’ once its begins. Neither has there been any deliberation on the documents that will be required and demanded as standards of poof. There is also complete silence on the ‘cut-off date’ that will be used as the bottom line.

Indian citizenship law grants citizenship by birth to all born before 1987. After that date apart from the citizens birth the requirement is that one parent needs to have been born in India before 1987. After 2004, there is an additional qualification that neither parent should be an illegal migrant. Given this calibration in existing law, what is or will be the criteria for inclusion and exclusion in the NPR/NRC? In a constitutional democracy can such an exercise be shrouded in secrecy?

Indian society is stratified with the ‘document’ being the privilege of the moneyed and few. Internal migration, natural and manmade disasters particular affect and target marginalised and displaced populations who have to struggle to produce these standards of proof. India has not yet given its migrant labour populations basic voting rights. Despite a birth registration law that dates to 1969, only 58 % of Indian births are today registered. The Aadhar experiment has thrown up its own levels of horror stories.

Under these circumstances must Indians allow their government to throw them into this conundrun of proof of existence by the document?

We must unequivocally reject CAB 2019 and at the same time in the same breath, NPR/NRC.

 

Signatories

  1. Justice PB Sawant ( SC retd)

  2. Justice Hosbet Suresh ( Bombay HC retd)

  3. Justice BG Kolse Patil ( ex Bombay HC)

  4. Javed Akhtar

  5. Swami Agnivesh

  6. Anil Dharker

  7. Nandan Maluste

  8. Naseeruddin Shah

  9. Saeed Mirza

  10. Cyrus Guzder

  11. Harsh Mander

  12. Aparna Sen

  13. Admiral Ramdas

  14. Mallika Sarabhai

  15. Zeenak Shaukat Ali

  16. Nasreen Fazalbhoy

  17. Prabhat Patnaik

  18. Utsa Patnaik

  19. Gita Kapur

  20. Teesta Setalvad

  21. Javed Anand

  22. Anjum Rajabali

  23. Mihir Desai

  24. Sandhya Gokhale

  25. Chitra Palekar

  26. Shankuntala Kulkarni

  27. Vasanthi Devi

  28. SP Udaykumaran

  29. Madhushree Dutta

  30. Sanjoy Hazarika

  31. Anand Patwardhan

  32. Sanjay Parikh

  33. Sudhindra Kulkarni

  34. Henri Tiphagne

  35. Arfa Khanum

  36. Sandeep Pandey

  37. Arundhati Dhuru

  38. Muniza Khan

  39. Saif Mahmood

  40. Vivek Monteiro

  41. Sonja Gill

  42. Mousumi Barua

  43. Tapas Ray

  44. Amir Rizvi

  45. Qutub Kidwai

  46. Sageer

  47. Feroze Mithiborwala

  48. Jaffer Sadiq

  49. Askari Zaidi

  50. Mohammed yacoob

  51. Suhel Banerjee

  52. Milind Barsing

  53. Brinelle D'souza

  54. Apeksha Vora

  55. Prabha Pandey

  56. Vaishali Janarthanan

  57. Sandhya Gokhale

  58. Partho Sarothi Ray

  59. Kalamuddin

  60. Irfan Khan

  61. Yasmeen Aga

  62. Zamser Ali

  63. Preeti Lourdes John

  64. Nabeel

  65. Nisha Biswas

  66. Persis Ginwalla

  67. T.Kumar

  68. Isfakur Ahmed Choudhury

  69. Sadique Basha

  70. Anjali Monteiro

  71. KP Jayasankar

  72. Bharti Vora

  73. Mohammad Sharif Khan

  74. Mohammad  Sahil Choudhari

  75. Sushmita

  76. Shweta Damle

  77. Urmila Salunkhe

  78. Jameelabegum

  79. Vahida Nainar

  80. Kausar ansari

  81. Kalyanee Boruah

  82. J Khan

  83. Kamalakar Shete

  84. Razia Rupani

  85. Paankhi Agrawal

  86. Sathya S

  87. Ammu Abraham

  88. Bilal Khan

  89. Aslam Abdulrahim Baig

  90. Ravindra Kulkarni

  91. Henri Tiphagne

  92. Cynthia Tiphagne

  93. Ahsan Khan

  94. Aseer

  95. Sundarrajan

  96. Rituraj Kalita

  97. Vijayakumar

  98. Vinod Nehemiah

  99. Dr.Anantharamakrishnan Senthivel

  100. Mohammed Afzal

  101. Stanley Fernandez

  102. Mahaboob Batcha

  103. Society for Community Organisation Trust ( SOCO Trust)

  104. Lara Jesani

  105. Archana Hande

  106. Mati

  107. Anil Khatri

  108. Bhimrao Sakya

  109. Sabhee Keshwaar

  110. Amarjit Singh

  111. Geeta Seshu

  112. Marcellus Crasto

  113. Archana Prasad

  114. Syed Deen

  115. Sharfuddin Ahmad

  116. R. Rajagopal

  117. M Suhail Khan

  118. Meenakshi  Joshi

  119. Neeta Ratwani

  120. A  R Shaikh

  121. Abdul Rauf

  122. M P Terence Samuel

  123. Mohan

  124. Arbaz Aga

  125. Asha Nehemiah

  126. Mallika Shah

  127. Manish Ravindra Deshpande

  128. Athr Parwez

  129. Shabnam Hashmi

  130. Sandeep Saurav (AISA)

  131. Ningthoukhongjam Rajesh

  132. Rupesh Gaikwad

  133. Chandra Nath Dani

  134. Assinar Ponnan

  135. Aquila Khan

  136. Safdar Omar Khan

  137. Saifuddin Ahmed

  138. Sarwar zaman

  139. Mohammad Rashed Ahmad

  140. Shefali Saini

  141. Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi

  142. Noorulain Rezavi

  143. Neha Ansari

  144. Varsha

  145. Bonani Ghosh

  146. Farida Patharia

  147. Vivekanandan

  148. Eliyas Ahmed

  149. Manju

  150. Rosely

  151. Rajendiran R

  152. Nitin Basrur

  153. chandrasekar

  154. Shaiz Uddin Ahmed

  155. Shabana Ansari

  156. Vyankatesh Sambrani

  157. Aruna Sambrani

  158. Faiaz Ahmed

  159. Siraj Ahmed jafferi

  160. Prabhat Kumar Choudhary

  161. Nitin

  162. Sandhya

  163. Sandesh

  164. Shakeel Ahmed

  165. Ashfaque Pinjari

  166. V Durai

  167. Sarfaraz

  168. Sheikh Sajeed Akbar

  169. Maya Nair

  170. Abid Faheem (Research Scholar, JNU)

  171. Meghana Nair

  172. Mousumi Barua

  173. Rupa PP

  174. Ajitha

  175. Tapas Ray

  176. Shaili Satpute

  177. Nikhil khobragade

  178. Ramzani

  179. Mohammad

  180. Aslam Shaikh 

  181. Nivedita

  182. Monu

  183. Anmol

  184. Mukund Bahalkar

  185. Nirmalendu Jajodia

  186. Saif Hanfee

  187. Saif

  188. Ravi Jadhav

  189. Yuvraj S Gatkal

  190. Mayank Saxena

  191. Umakant Pawaskar

  192. Dr.Zaheer Ahmed Sayeed

  193. Archana Sarfare

  194. Debabrata Laifungbam

  195. Kasimsait

  196. Ibrahim Patel

  197. Agree with you

  198. Shafaat khan

  199. Mohamed Musliyarakath

  200. Zaheer Ahmed sayeed

  201. Feroze Mithiborwala

  202. Latoya Ferns-Advani

  203. Charmaine Ferns

  204. Najid Hussain

  205. Sanchita

  206. Sarbendu Guha

  207. Prof MH Jawahirullah

  208. Suhel Tirmizi

  209. Kavita Srivastava

  210. Bobbieandmarie

  211. Vasanthi Raman

  212. Dipak Malik

  213. Archis Mohan

  214. Meera Sanghamitra

  215. Khalida Parveen

  216. Nikita Naidu

  217. Sarah Mathews

  218. Nikhat Fatima

  219. Mohammed Imtiyaz Ali

  220. Sharifa Siddiqui

  221. Varsha Bhargavi

  222. Ambika

  223. Naira Nazreen

  224. Ameen Shaikh

  225. Latika Rajput

  226. Mohammed Aijaz uddin

  227. Raheela khan

  228. A J Jawad

  229. Ishrath fatima

  230. Thakur prathibha chouhan

  231. Abdul Rohail

  232. Mohammed Shabbir

  233. Abdul Shoaib

  234. Abdul sohail

  235. Anju Khemani

  236. B.Girija Devi

  237. Tejaswini Madabhushi

  238. Asanulla Mallick

  239. Asit Roy

  240. Shahira Naim

  241. Khalid Hasan

  242. Anand K Sahay

  243. Keval Arora

  244. Uma Bhrugubanda

  245. Susie Tharu

  246. Rahim

  247. Paise paise

  248. Syed shabir

  249. Asma Rasheed

  250. Gautam Bhattacharya

  251. SK Das

  252. Tuhina khatun

  253. Gogu Shyamala

  254. Mohammed Farooque Azam Khan

  255. I dont want NRC bill for India

  256. Padmaja Shaw

  257. Prasanthi P

  258. Shefali Jha

  259. Jayasree Subramanian

  260. Debasish

  261. Sudhir Vombatkere

  262. Sumit Chowdhury

  263. Seethalakshmi

  264. Dr. Lissy Joseph

  265. Rachana

  266. Aditi Chowdhury

  267. Shahid Meezan

  268. Ashalatha S

  269. Nisha Biswas

  270. Prabir Das

  271. Devi Pa

  272. K. Satyavati

  273. Jothi SJ

  274. Ilyas Ahmed Shakeel

  275. Ameen Shaikh

  276. Arshad BK

  277. Saleem Khanba

  278. Shaila Satpute

  279. Jyoti smmi

  280. Kaleem

  281. Anweshi

  282. Subhir Rajan Mavunkal

  283. Lara Jesani

  284. John Dayal 

  285. A Rauf

  286. Jacob Peenikaparambil

  287. Bobita Subhir

  288. [email protected]

  289. Richard B Saldanha

  290. Askari Zaidi

  291. Rajlakshmi Nair

  292. Marianne Manuel

  293. Aisha Farooqui

  294. Sujatha Surepally

  295. Jyoti Punwani

  296. Suranjan Gupta

  297. Ravi Nair

  298. Sheeba Aslam Fehmi

  299. Aman

  300. M. Mandakini

  301. DR.A.H.AZMI

  302. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury

  303. Kaushik Banerjee

  304. Harsh Kapoor

  305. Dipal Roychowddhury

  306. Sarah Khan

  307. Janhavi mittal

  308. Henri Tiphagne

  309. Mohammad Sartaj Alam

  310. Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

  311. Faruk Abdul Gaffar bawani

  312. Farooq a. Bawani

  313. Tony Sequiera 

  314. Manzar Jameel

  315. Kaniza Garari

  316. Prof PKPokker

  317. Yusuf Garari

  318. Sebastian Nallail

  319. Dr Veda Simons from

  320. Sebastian Nallail

  321. Pravinsimons

  322. Farooqui

  323. J. Jawad

  324. Jennifer Fernandes

  325. Harbans Mukhia

  326. Shyam Pakhare

  327. David Fernandes

  328. Civic Chandran

  329. Somok Roy

  330. N D Sharma

  331. Francis Gonsalves

  332. Siddharth K J

  333. Dinesh Abrol

  334. Waheed Mukaddam

  335. N D Sharma

  336. Anwesha Sengupta

  337. Josnat Jacob

  338. Aparajay, Chennai

  339. Dr Zaheer Ahmed Sayeed

  340. Burhan sheikh

  341. Rajanaaa

  342. Alok Laddha

  343. Stanley Fernandez

  344. Shevlin Sebastian

  345. Mohammed Imran

  346. Sadia Wahidi

  347. Jeroo Mulla

  348. Ali

  349. Krishnaraj

  350. Deepa Punjani

  351. Dr. MA Ibrahimi

  352. N.D.Jayaprakash

  353. Sunil Michael Caleb

  354. John Jayaharan

  355. Damodar Mauzo

  356. Mohd Munna

  357. Shereen Sultana

  358. S.Q.Masood

  359. Dr Lubna Sarwath, Hyderabad

  360. Jagdish Malkani

  361. M Z Baig

  362. Swati Narayan

  363. Damodar Mauzo

  364. Tanushree Gangopadhyay

  365. Meenal Bashir Mamdani

  366. Gorky Chakraborty

  367. Viswanathan PL

  368. Barnita

  369. Amitha George

  370. Ankit S

  371. Thahira Iqbal

  372. Dr. Aftab Alam

  373. Dilip D'Souza

  374. Tilottama Karlekar

  375. Dr Anis Aansari IAS(r)

  376. Dr.Ali Imam Khan

  377. Shaik shabberhussain

  378. Prof Pritam Singh Oxford

  379. Debasmita Deb

  380. Tania Deb

  381. Anne Heloise Theo

  382. Lalita Ramdas

  383. Rosemary Viswanath

  384. Amitadyuti Kumar

  385. K.C.Gopikumar

  386. Dr Reeteka Sud

  387. K.C.Gopikumar

  388. Vivek Sundara

  389. Altafhusen

  390. Talat parveen

  391. Purushottama Bilimale

  392. Abdul kalim

  393. Rizwana khatoon

  394. Karthika Annamalai

  395. Mohammad Abdussamad Khan

  396. Reject CAB

  397. Rizwana Khatoon

  398. Rashmi Gera

  399. Ghanshyam Shah

  400. Shaukat Mohammed

  401. Madhusudhan Raman

  402. Yes I endorse the statement

  403. Beulah Caleb

  404. Aruna Rodrigues

  405. MABaby

  406. Prem Ram M R

  407. Aijaz Zaka Syed

  408. Akshay Khanna

  409. Dheeraj S P

  410. Pradeep Esteves

  411. Rabin Chakraborty

  412. Fathima R F

  413. Ritu Dewan

  414. Avijit Chatterjee

  415. Sira

  416. John V J

  417. Sumi Krishna

  418. Timir Ghoshal

  419. DL Tripathi

  420. Kazim Naqvi

  421. Tariq

  422. Anuradha Prasad

  423. Asokan Mundon

  424. Biju Viswanath

  425. Sweta Dash

  426. Amrita Shodhan

  427. Kartikeyan V

  428. Shah Alam Khan

  429. Akhil, Student, TISS Mumbai

  430. Mukesh Rai

  431. Pradeep Kumar

  432. K K PRASOON

  433. Vinod Mubayi

  434. Surya Ramakrishnan

  435. Jhuma Sen

  436. Uma Ravikumar

  437. Pappu

  438. Bindu Desai

  439. Francis Colaso

  440. Rupa Shah

  441. Anindo Banerjee

  442. Afzal Ahmad Khan

  443. Prasanna Rajashekarappa

  444. Najeed N. Siddiqui

  445. Vanya

  446. Kinshuk Goyal

  447. Nawaz Heggere

  448. Yash Kaul

  449. T. Ramakrishnan

  450. P Kashyap

  451. Debabrata Roy

  452. Molly Jacob

  453. Rahul Sapkal

  454. Nagaragere Ramesh

  455. N. Manu Chakravarthy

  456. N MANU CHAKRAVARTHY

  457. Amalendu Upadhyaya (Journalist)

  458. Matam Pavaman Murthy

  459. Anuradha Kapur

  460. Vijayakumar Mattappilly

  461. Leila Almeida

  462. Abhijit Almeida

  463. Gyan Pandey

  464. Mohammad Sahil

  465. Kamayani Bali Mahabal

  466. Madhu Bhushan, Bangalore

  467. Salim Yusufji

  468. Chanda Shashikant

  469. Vivek Basanagoudar

  470. Ganesh Anantharaman

  471. Abhilasha Kumari

  472. Priscilla Rawade

  473. Sudhir Katiyar

  474. neelam

  475. Dr Mazhar Mulla

  476. Pynskhem Suchen

  477. Dr Mazhar Khan

  478. Dipika Sahani

  479. Prof Zenab Banu

  480. Pushpa Achanta

  481. Vasantha rajan G

  482. Soniya Mariya Varghese

  483. Iqbal Kohati

  484. Aftab Khan

  485. Sekhar Sarkar

  486. Arul Susai

  487. Sudha Varghese

  488. Rappai Poothokaren

  489. Kumba War

  490. Firoz

  491. V. Ramchandran

  492. Karthika Anthony

  493. Tanveer Jafri

  494. Shewli Kumar

  495. Banegar Abdul Rahman

  496. Maya Krishna Rao

  497. Neela D’Souza

  498. Shiraz Dastoor

  499. Maya Krishna Rao

  500. Sharanya Nayak

  501. Manohar G M

  502. Hozefa hajuri

  503. Sara Ahmed

  504. Anita Rego

  505. Ranu Jain

  506. Shahab Ahmad

  507. Samrat Mukherjee

  508. Saikat Kumar Dey

  509. Shaheelabatcha

  510. Bikashranjan Bhattacharya ,senior advocate

  511. Shaheelabatcha

  512. Dhammrakshit

  513. Karen Gabriel

  514. Yalgaar

  515. Noor Zahira

  516. Aika Gopi

  517. Rukmini Sen

  518. Thanksy Thekkekara

  519. J Merwanji

  520. Ambika Tandon

  521. Alaka Basu

  522. Amrita Chhachhi

  523. R. Ramachandran

  524. Deba Ranjan

  525. Asif

  526. Pragya Singh

  527. Sushmita Sekhar

  528. Parvesh Kumar

  529. Vimala Morthala

  530. Eldred Tellis

  531. Sherna Gandhy

  532. Masihuddin Sanjari

  533. Sheeba ameer

  534. Dr Sylvia Karpagam

  535. Akash Bhattacharya

  536. Ashrafi

  537. Teesta Lahiri

  538. roopashri sinha

  539. Dev Desai

  540. Satyen K. Bordoloi

  541. Nizamuddin

  542. Nalini Nayak

  543. Soundaran Natarajan

  544. Anushree Jairath

  545. Thangamani Duraiswamy

  546. Ashok Choudhary

  547. Shaili Sathyu

  548. Nitu Sanadhya

  549. Farhan Rahman

  550. Neeta Ratwani

  551. Sajee Gopal

  552. Ashley Tellis

  553. Ajay Noronha

  554. Saifuddin Doola

  555. Dr. G. Vijay

  556. Vispi Balaporia

  557. Partha Ganguly

  558. Abdul Rahman

  559. Mohammed Abdul Aleem

  560. Syed Deen

  561. Pillai

  562. Vineet Tiwari

  563. Shareef Ambalath

  564. Saeed Bahamed

  565. Sarfraj Alam

  566. Jawed Naqvi

  567. Rahi Bhide

  568. S Gurudutt

  569. Rahi Bhide

  570. Angbin Yasmin

  571. Eric Pinto

  572. Geeta Thatra

  573. Aliya Fatima

  574. KSJacob

  575. Iqbal

  576. Rajeshri

  577. Ejaz shaikh

  578. Shaunak

  579. Mohamned Abdul Jabbar.

  580. Rahman

  581. P Radhakrishnan

  582. Shaikh Nizamuddin

  583. Sameer Khan

  584. Jennifer Mirza

  585. Saeed Mirza

  586. Jacob Nellithanam

  587. Anis Ahmad khan

  588. Shahnawaz Akhtar

  589. Osama Hasan

  590. Kalpana Banhatti

  591. Mahmafasraf Mulla

  592. Vishwanath

  593. Sanjeev Kumar Singh

  594. Anita Singh

  595. Vimala.k.s

  596. T.Surendra Rao

  597. Mona Ambegaonkar

  598. Zaheer Abbas

  599. VSKrishna

  600. Ghazala Anjum

  601. Violet Braganza

  602. Arif Kapadia

  603. Rani Day

  604. Syed habeeb

  605. Ravi Chopra

  606. Veena Pinto

  607. Sruti Visweswaran

  608. Karuna M

  609. Puranb Bartwal

  610. Arun Khobragade

  611. Prem Prakash Verma

  612. Walter Fernandes

  613. Irfan  Suleman  Bhiwandiwala

  614. Sumithra

  615. Shazia Shaikh

  616. Siraj Dutta

  617. Mir waliullah

  618. Meghna Mukherjee

  619. Radhika Menon

  620. Rashmi Munikempanna

  621. Anushri Alva

  622. Selwin Rebello

  623. N.Umasankari

  624. Deep Chand Kabir

  625. Shuaib

  626. Aqueel Ur Rehman

  627. Aruna Burte

  628. Rajinder Chaudhary

  629. K V Eswara Prasad

  630. Mohd Abuzar

  631. Ziaul Haque

  632. Kirity Roy

  633. Shaheela Shah 

  634. Salman Sultan

  635. Jyoti Smmi

  636. Leena George

  637. Sheelu Francis

  638. [email protected]

  639. Vineet Tiwari 

  640. Namrata Sen

  641. bhattacharyyabikashranjan

  642. abde mannaan yusuf

  643. Dunu Roy

  644. Mani Shankar Aiyar

  645. Mukul Dube

  646. Dr Aparajita Sharma

  647. Vijay Prasad

  648. Akhil Almeida

  649. Nirja Bhatnagar

  650. Priyanka Varma

  651. Vinod Erat

  652. Joyce Braganza

  653. Advocate Sanjay Parikh

  654. Ghulam Peshimam

  655. Hemlata Rajan

  656. Neeladri Bhattacharya

  657. Zainul Saghar

  658. Mithilesh Kumar

  659. Vivan Sundaram

  660. Swatija Manorama

  661. Md Aqueel Ahmed

  662. Gurdeep Chawla

  663. Sayed Parvez Mustafa

  664. Prashant S Bhonsle

  665. Rachana Kapoor

  666. Pamela Philipose

  667. A G kaiser

  668. Dev

  669. Philo Thomas

  670. Romar Correa

  671. Mirza Muqeem Baih

  672. Shewar

  673. Mrinalini R

  674. satish s bodh

  675. Venkatesh Athreya

  676. Indrani Bhattacharya

  677. Vandana Kulkarni

  678. vaghela rimmi

  679. Aman

  680. Mahamud Padubidri

  681. S P Udayakumaran

  682. Sudershan Gera

  683. B Silpa Rani

  684. Jyothi A., NFIW

  685. Bina Sarkar Ellias

  686. Amarjit Singh

  687. Mangal Bawskar

  688. Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi

  689. Ain Rezavi

  690. shafique

  691. Rudi Heredia

  692. Mrinmoy Dutta

  693. shobha

  694. akram naquib

  695. Vinod Shemron

  696. Lalita

  697. Sundari

  698. Anil Janvijay

  699. Immanuel S

  700. Hina Mircin

  701. Pervin Mahoney

  702. Vinay Jha

  703. Rajesh Darak

  704. P M Quadir

  705. Suresh Bhat B.

  706. jaya sharma

  707. Elackia

  708. MMPSingh / Rekha Awasthi

  709. Dr. Ritumbra Manuvie

  710. Alryk

  711. Aarushi Mahajan

  712. Professor R Balasubramanian

  713. Kripa Ananthpur

  714. Bhavya

  715. Osama Qamar

  716. Utsal Karani

  717. Jawed Shaikh

  718. Ejaj Attar

  719. Santosh Nasine

  720. Ravi Nitesh

  721. Jamuna Ramakrishna

  722. Sayyed Shah Wayez

  723. Dakerlin Mukhim

  724. Sachin Savur

  725. Anupama

  726. Mohammed Saleem

  727. Mahnoor yar Khan

Stand Up for the Constitution #Scrap CAB 2019 #NoNRC say Indians!

Over 720 Indians, writers, actors, activists and citizens are speaking up against both, CAB 2019 and the NPR-NRC

Citizenship bill

Here is the text of one more, comprehensive statement of protest from a wide section of Indians on the Modi govt’s recent moves on citizenship. From south to north, these Indians have offered an informed and nuanced view on why both policy decisions of the centre are misguided and worse, unconstitutional.

Citizenship has been defined as the right to have rights. Citizenship in India is based on the non-negotiable principles of equality and non-discrimination. India, when it became Independent (1947) and thereafter when it firmly rooted itself in an inclusive and composite nationhood, in 1950, accepted that people of all faiths, creeds, castes, languages and genders, equally and without discrimination are Indian.

In sharp contrast to this foundational commitment and history, over the past six years, there are clear political moves to fundamentally assault and redefine this Constitutional basis of both Indian nationhood and citizenship. Especially now, with the newly drafted proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 (that is now proposed to be re-introduced in the 2019 Winter Session of Parliament) and second through a hurried, and not thoroughly debated all India-level NPR-National Register of Citizens (NRC) process.

Both these moves need to be categorically protested and condemned.

CAB (2019) makes a promise to entertain requests for refuge and citizenship to all those ‘persecuted minorities’ from three Islamic countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who reached India before either 2014 or later. The amendments by giving special privileges to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jain, Parsis and Christians from these three countries, single out Muslims for exclusion. For example, neither the Ahmadiyas, who are undoubtedly persecuted in Pakistan, nor do possible asylum seekers like the Rohingyas from Myanmar or Tamils from Sri Lanka have any place here.

For the first time there is a statutory attempt to not just privilege peoples from some faiths but at the same time relegate another, Muslims, to second-rate status. The proposed amendments to India’s 1955 citizenship law (Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019) need to be strongly rejected on these counts alone, in that they are divisive and discriminatory in character. The CAB, 2019 is at odds with Constitutional secular principles and a violation of Articles 13, 14, 15, 16 and 21 which guarantee the right to equality, equality before the law and non discriminatory treatment by the Indian state.

This regime threatens to go further. Through the process of enlisting for a National Population Register (NPR) and thereafter a National Register of Citizens(NRC), the present government appears intent on causing huge upheavals within Indian society. Assam has, especially since 2013 been reeling under the impact of this ill-conceived exercise. Apart from the huge material costs, the human costs have been immeasurable. Death, families torn apart; detention camps and foreigners’ tribunals; fear, the spectre of statelessness – this is what the ordinary people, especially minorities, Dalits, women, children and the poor have had to suffer and continue to suffer. The worst impacted are women and children.

A nation-wide NRC, will unleash widespread division and suffering among people across the country – rather than address the critical needs, from food security and employment to the annihilation of discrimination based on caste, community and gender, to the freedom to speak, worship, and live as our diverse people choose. Today 19 lakh persons (1.9 million live a broken existence in Assam with the sword of statelessness hanging over them. Does the rest of India want to tread this path?

Never mind this history, the Indian government wishes now to replicate an Assam like trauma on the entire Indian people. While the government has announced, or rather decreed, that the NPR survey would begin from April 2020 onwards, there has been no public debate and clarity –in parliament or elsewhere-- on the criteria of inclusion and exclusion within this ‘register’ once its begins. Neither has there been any deliberation on the documents that will be required and demanded as standards of poof. There is also complete silence on the ‘cut-off date’ that will be used as the bottom line.

Indian citizenship law grants citizenship by birth to all born before 1987. After that date apart from the citizens birth the requirement is that one parent needs to have been born in India before 1987. After 2004, there is an additional qualification that neither parent should be an illegal migrant. Given this calibration in existing law, what is or will be the criteria for inclusion and exclusion in the NPR/NRC? In a constitutional democracy can such an exercise be shrouded in secrecy?

Indian society is stratified with the ‘document’ being the privilege of the moneyed and few. Internal migration, natural and manmade disasters particular affect and target marginalised and displaced populations who have to struggle to produce these standards of proof. India has not yet given its migrant labour populations basic voting rights. Despite a birth registration law that dates to 1969, only 58 % of Indian births are today registered. The Aadhar experiment has thrown up its own levels of horror stories.

Under these circumstances must Indians allow their government to throw them into this conundrun of proof of existence by the document?

We must unequivocally reject CAB 2019 and at the same time in the same breath, NPR/NRC.

 

Signatories

  1. Justice PB Sawant ( SC retd)

  2. Justice Hosbet Suresh ( Bombay HC retd)

  3. Justice BG Kolse Patil ( ex Bombay HC)

  4. Javed Akhtar

  5. Swami Agnivesh

  6. Anil Dharker

  7. Nandan Maluste

  8. Naseeruddin Shah

  9. Saeed Mirza

  10. Cyrus Guzder

  11. Harsh Mander

  12. Aparna Sen

  13. Admiral Ramdas

  14. Mallika Sarabhai

  15. Zeenak Shaukat Ali

  16. Nasreen Fazalbhoy

  17. Prabhat Patnaik

  18. Utsa Patnaik

  19. Gita Kapur

  20. Teesta Setalvad

  21. Javed Anand

  22. Anjum Rajabali

  23. Mihir Desai

  24. Sandhya Gokhale

  25. Chitra Palekar

  26. Shankuntala Kulkarni

  27. Vasanthi Devi

  28. SP Udaykumaran

  29. Madhushree Dutta

  30. Sanjoy Hazarika

  31. Anand Patwardhan

  32. Sanjay Parikh

  33. Sudhindra Kulkarni

  34. Henri Tiphagne

  35. Arfa Khanum

  36. Sandeep Pandey

  37. Arundhati Dhuru

  38. Muniza Khan

  39. Saif Mahmood

  40. Vivek Monteiro

  41. Sonja Gill

  42. Mousumi Barua

  43. Tapas Ray

  44. Amir Rizvi

  45. Qutub Kidwai

  46. Sageer

  47. Feroze Mithiborwala

  48. Jaffer Sadiq

  49. Askari Zaidi

  50. Mohammed yacoob

  51. Suhel Banerjee

  52. Milind Barsing

  53. Brinelle D'souza

  54. Apeksha Vora

  55. Prabha Pandey

  56. Vaishali Janarthanan

  57. Sandhya Gokhale

  58. Partho Sarothi Ray

  59. Kalamuddin

  60. Irfan Khan

  61. Yasmeen Aga

  62. Zamser Ali

  63. Preeti Lourdes John

  64. Nabeel

  65. Nisha Biswas

  66. Persis Ginwalla

  67. T.Kumar

  68. Isfakur Ahmed Choudhury

  69. Sadique Basha

  70. Anjali Monteiro

  71. KP Jayasankar

  72. Bharti Vora

  73. Mohammad Sharif Khan

  74. Mohammad  Sahil Choudhari

  75. Sushmita

  76. Shweta Damle

  77. Urmila Salunkhe

  78. Jameelabegum

  79. Vahida Nainar

  80. Kausar ansari

  81. Kalyanee Boruah

  82. J Khan

  83. Kamalakar Shete

  84. Razia Rupani

  85. Paankhi Agrawal

  86. Sathya S

  87. Ammu Abraham

  88. Bilal Khan

  89. Aslam Abdulrahim Baig

  90. Ravindra Kulkarni

  91. Henri Tiphagne

  92. Cynthia Tiphagne

  93. Ahsan Khan

  94. Aseer

  95. Sundarrajan

  96. Rituraj Kalita

  97. Vijayakumar

  98. Vinod Nehemiah

  99. Dr.Anantharamakrishnan Senthivel

  100. Mohammed Afzal

  101. Stanley Fernandez

  102. Mahaboob Batcha

  103. Society for Community Organisation Trust ( SOCO Trust)

  104. Lara Jesani

  105. Archana Hande

  106. Mati

  107. Anil Khatri

  108. Bhimrao Sakya

  109. Sabhee Keshwaar

  110. Amarjit Singh

  111. Geeta Seshu

  112. Marcellus Crasto

  113. Archana Prasad

  114. Syed Deen

  115. Sharfuddin Ahmad

  116. R. Rajagopal

  117. M Suhail Khan

  118. Meenakshi  Joshi

  119. Neeta Ratwani

  120. A  R Shaikh

  121. Abdul Rauf

  122. M P Terence Samuel

  123. Mohan

  124. Arbaz Aga

  125. Asha Nehemiah

  126. Mallika Shah

  127. Manish Ravindra Deshpande

  128. Athr Parwez

  129. Shabnam Hashmi

  130. Sandeep Saurav (AISA)

  131. Ningthoukhongjam Rajesh

  132. Rupesh Gaikwad

  133. Chandra Nath Dani

  134. Assinar Ponnan

  135. Aquila Khan

  136. Safdar Omar Khan

  137. Saifuddin Ahmed

  138. Sarwar zaman

  139. Mohammad Rashed Ahmad

  140. Shefali Saini

  141. Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi

  142. Noorulain Rezavi

  143. Neha Ansari

  144. Varsha

  145. Bonani Ghosh

  146. Farida Patharia

  147. Vivekanandan

  148. Eliyas Ahmed

  149. Manju

  150. Rosely

  151. Rajendiran R

  152. Nitin Basrur

  153. chandrasekar

  154. Shaiz Uddin Ahmed

  155. Shabana Ansari

  156. Vyankatesh Sambrani

  157. Aruna Sambrani

  158. Faiaz Ahmed

  159. Siraj Ahmed jafferi

  160. Prabhat Kumar Choudhary

  161. Nitin

  162. Sandhya

  163. Sandesh

  164. Shakeel Ahmed

  165. Ashfaque Pinjari

  166. V Durai

  167. Sarfaraz

  168. Sheikh Sajeed Akbar

  169. Maya Nair

  170. Abid Faheem (Research Scholar, JNU)

  171. Meghana Nair

  172. Mousumi Barua

  173. Rupa PP

  174. Ajitha

  175. Tapas Ray

  176. Shaili Satpute

  177. Nikhil khobragade

  178. Ramzani

  179. Mohammad

  180. Aslam Shaikh 

  181. Nivedita

  182. Monu

  183. Anmol

  184. Mukund Bahalkar

  185. Nirmalendu Jajodia

  186. Saif Hanfee

  187. Saif

  188. Ravi Jadhav

  189. Yuvraj S Gatkal

  190. Mayank Saxena

  191. Umakant Pawaskar

  192. Dr.Zaheer Ahmed Sayeed

  193. Archana Sarfare

  194. Debabrata Laifungbam

  195. Kasimsait

  196. Ibrahim Patel

  197. Agree with you

  198. Shafaat khan

  199. Mohamed Musliyarakath

  200. Zaheer Ahmed sayeed

  201. Feroze Mithiborwala

  202. Latoya Ferns-Advani

  203. Charmaine Ferns

  204. Najid Hussain

  205. Sanchita

  206. Sarbendu Guha

  207. Prof MH Jawahirullah

  208. Suhel Tirmizi

  209. Kavita Srivastava

  210. Bobbieandmarie

  211. Vasanthi Raman

  212. Dipak Malik

  213. Archis Mohan

  214. Meera Sanghamitra

  215. Khalida Parveen

  216. Nikita Naidu

  217. Sarah Mathews

  218. Nikhat Fatima

  219. Mohammed Imtiyaz Ali

  220. Sharifa Siddiqui

  221. Varsha Bhargavi

  222. Ambika

  223. Naira Nazreen

  224. Ameen Shaikh

  225. Latika Rajput

  226. Mohammed Aijaz uddin

  227. Raheela khan

  228. A J Jawad

  229. Ishrath fatima

  230. Thakur prathibha chouhan

  231. Abdul Rohail

  232. Mohammed Shabbir

  233. Abdul Shoaib

  234. Abdul sohail

  235. Anju Khemani

  236. B.Girija Devi

  237. Tejaswini Madabhushi

  238. Asanulla Mallick

  239. Asit Roy

  240. Shahira Naim

  241. Khalid Hasan

  242. Anand K Sahay

  243. Keval Arora

  244. Uma Bhrugubanda

  245. Susie Tharu

  246. Rahim

  247. Paise paise

  248. Syed shabir

  249. Asma Rasheed

  250. Gautam Bhattacharya

  251. SK Das

  252. Tuhina khatun

  253. Gogu Shyamala

  254. Mohammed Farooque Azam Khan

  255. I dont want NRC bill for India

  256. Padmaja Shaw

  257. Prasanthi P

  258. Shefali Jha

  259. Jayasree Subramanian

  260. Debasish

  261. Sudhir Vombatkere

  262. Sumit Chowdhury

  263. Seethalakshmi

  264. Dr. Lissy Joseph

  265. Rachana

  266. Aditi Chowdhury

  267. Shahid Meezan

  268. Ashalatha S

  269. Nisha Biswas

  270. Prabir Das

  271. Devi Pa

  272. K. Satyavati

  273. Jothi SJ

  274. Ilyas Ahmed Shakeel

  275. Ameen Shaikh

  276. Arshad BK

  277. Saleem Khanba

  278. Shaila Satpute

  279. Jyoti smmi

  280. Kaleem

  281. Anweshi

  282. Subhir Rajan Mavunkal

  283. Lara Jesani

  284. John Dayal 

  285. A Rauf

  286. Jacob Peenikaparambil

  287. Bobita Subhir

  288. [email protected]

  289. Richard B Saldanha

  290. Askari Zaidi

  291. Rajlakshmi Nair

  292. Marianne Manuel

  293. Aisha Farooqui

  294. Sujatha Surepally

  295. Jyoti Punwani

  296. Suranjan Gupta

  297. Ravi Nair

  298. Sheeba Aslam Fehmi

  299. Aman

  300. M. Mandakini

  301. DR.A.H.AZMI

  302. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury

  303. Kaushik Banerjee

  304. Harsh Kapoor

  305. Dipal Roychowddhury

  306. Sarah Khan

  307. Janhavi mittal

  308. Henri Tiphagne

  309. Mohammad Sartaj Alam

  310. Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

  311. Faruk Abdul Gaffar bawani

  312. Farooq a. Bawani

  313. Tony Sequiera 

  314. Manzar Jameel

  315. Kaniza Garari

  316. Prof PKPokker

  317. Yusuf Garari

  318. Sebastian Nallail

  319. Dr Veda Simons from

  320. Sebastian Nallail

  321. Pravinsimons

  322. Farooqui

  323. J. Jawad

  324. Jennifer Fernandes

  325. Harbans Mukhia

  326. Shyam Pakhare

  327. David Fernandes

  328. Civic Chandran

  329. Somok Roy

  330. N D Sharma

  331. Francis Gonsalves

  332. Siddharth K J

  333. Dinesh Abrol

  334. Waheed Mukaddam

  335. N D Sharma

  336. Anwesha Sengupta

  337. Josnat Jacob

  338. Aparajay, Chennai

  339. Dr Zaheer Ahmed Sayeed

  340. Burhan sheikh

  341. Rajanaaa

  342. Alok Laddha

  343. Stanley Fernandez

  344. Shevlin Sebastian

  345. Mohammed Imran

  346. Sadia Wahidi

  347. Jeroo Mulla

  348. Ali

  349. Krishnaraj

  350. Deepa Punjani

  351. Dr. MA Ibrahimi

  352. N.D.Jayaprakash

  353. Sunil Michael Caleb

  354. John Jayaharan

  355. Damodar Mauzo

  356. Mohd Munna

  357. Shereen Sultana

  358. S.Q.Masood

  359. Dr Lubna Sarwath, Hyderabad

  360. Jagdish Malkani

  361. M Z Baig

  362. Swati Narayan

  363. Damodar Mauzo

  364. Tanushree Gangopadhyay

  365. Meenal Bashir Mamdani

  366. Gorky Chakraborty

  367. Viswanathan PL

  368. Barnita

  369. Amitha George

  370. Ankit S

  371. Thahira Iqbal

  372. Dr. Aftab Alam

  373. Dilip D'Souza

  374. Tilottama Karlekar

  375. Dr Anis Aansari IAS(r)

  376. Dr.Ali Imam Khan

  377. Shaik shabberhussain

  378. Prof Pritam Singh Oxford

  379. Debasmita Deb

  380. Tania Deb

  381. Anne Heloise Theo

  382. Lalita Ramdas

  383. Rosemary Viswanath

  384. Amitadyuti Kumar

  385. K.C.Gopikumar

  386. Dr Reeteka Sud

  387. K.C.Gopikumar

  388. Vivek Sundara

  389. Altafhusen

  390. Talat parveen

  391. Purushottama Bilimale

  392. Abdul kalim

  393. Rizwana khatoon

  394. Karthika Annamalai

  395. Mohammad Abdussamad Khan

  396. Reject CAB

  397. Rizwana Khatoon

  398. Rashmi Gera

  399. Ghanshyam Shah

  400. Shaukat Mohammed

  401. Madhusudhan Raman

  402. Yes I endorse the statement

  403. Beulah Caleb

  404. Aruna Rodrigues

  405. MABaby

  406. Prem Ram M R

  407. Aijaz Zaka Syed

  408. Akshay Khanna

  409. Dheeraj S P

  410. Pradeep Esteves

  411. Rabin Chakraborty

  412. Fathima R F

  413. Ritu Dewan

  414. Avijit Chatterjee

  415. Sira

  416. John V J

  417. Sumi Krishna

  418. Timir Ghoshal

  419. DL Tripathi

  420. Kazim Naqvi

  421. Tariq

  422. Anuradha Prasad

  423. Asokan Mundon

  424. Biju Viswanath

  425. Sweta Dash

  426. Amrita Shodhan

  427. Kartikeyan V

  428. Shah Alam Khan

  429. Akhil, Student, TISS Mumbai

  430. Mukesh Rai

  431. Pradeep Kumar

  432. K K PRASOON

  433. Vinod Mubayi

  434. Surya Ramakrishnan

  435. Jhuma Sen

  436. Uma Ravikumar

  437. Pappu

  438. Bindu Desai

  439. Francis Colaso

  440. Rupa Shah

  441. Anindo Banerjee

  442. Afzal Ahmad Khan

  443. Prasanna Rajashekarappa

  444. Najeed N. Siddiqui

  445. Vanya

  446. Kinshuk Goyal

  447. Nawaz Heggere

  448. Yash Kaul

  449. T. Ramakrishnan

  450. P Kashyap

  451. Debabrata Roy

  452. Molly Jacob

  453. Rahul Sapkal

  454. Nagaragere Ramesh

  455. N. Manu Chakravarthy

  456. N MANU CHAKRAVARTHY

  457. Amalendu Upadhyaya (Journalist)

  458. Matam Pavaman Murthy

  459. Anuradha Kapur

  460. Vijayakumar Mattappilly

  461. Leila Almeida

  462. Abhijit Almeida

  463. Gyan Pandey

  464. Mohammad Sahil

  465. Kamayani Bali Mahabal

  466. Madhu Bhushan, Bangalore

  467. Salim Yusufji

  468. Chanda Shashikant

  469. Vivek Basanagoudar

  470. Ganesh Anantharaman

  471. Abhilasha Kumari

  472. Priscilla Rawade

  473. Sudhir Katiyar

  474. neelam

  475. Dr Mazhar Mulla

  476. Pynskhem Suchen

  477. Dr Mazhar Khan

  478. Dipika Sahani

  479. Prof Zenab Banu

  480. Pushpa Achanta

  481. Vasantha rajan G

  482. Soniya Mariya Varghese

  483. Iqbal Kohati

  484. Aftab Khan

  485. Sekhar Sarkar

  486. Arul Susai

  487. Sudha Varghese

  488. Rappai Poothokaren

  489. Kumba War

  490. Firoz

  491. V. Ramchandran

  492. Karthika Anthony

  493. Tanveer Jafri

  494. Shewli Kumar

  495. Banegar Abdul Rahman

  496. Maya Krishna Rao

  497. Neela D’Souza

  498. Shiraz Dastoor

  499. Maya Krishna Rao

  500. Sharanya Nayak

  501. Manohar G M

  502. Hozefa hajuri

  503. Sara Ahmed

  504. Anita Rego

  505. Ranu Jain

  506. Shahab Ahmad

  507. Samrat Mukherjee

  508. Saikat Kumar Dey

  509. Shaheelabatcha

  510. Bikashranjan Bhattacharya ,senior advocate

  511. Shaheelabatcha

  512. Dhammrakshit

  513. Karen Gabriel

  514. Yalgaar

  515. Noor Zahira

  516. Aika Gopi

  517. Rukmini Sen

  518. Thanksy Thekkekara

  519. J Merwanji

  520. Ambika Tandon

  521. Alaka Basu

  522. Amrita Chhachhi

  523. R. Ramachandran

  524. Deba Ranjan

  525. Asif

  526. Pragya Singh

  527. Sushmita Sekhar

  528. Parvesh Kumar

  529. Vimala Morthala

  530. Eldred Tellis

  531. Sherna Gandhy

  532. Masihuddin Sanjari

  533. Sheeba ameer

  534. Dr Sylvia Karpagam

  535. Akash Bhattacharya

  536. Ashrafi

  537. Teesta Lahiri

  538. roopashri sinha

  539. Dev Desai

  540. Satyen K. Bordoloi

  541. Nizamuddin

  542. Nalini Nayak

  543. Soundaran Natarajan

  544. Anushree Jairath

  545. Thangamani Duraiswamy

  546. Ashok Choudhary

  547. Shaili Sathyu

  548. Nitu Sanadhya

  549. Farhan Rahman

  550. Neeta Ratwani

  551. Sajee Gopal

  552. Ashley Tellis

  553. Ajay Noronha

  554. Saifuddin Doola

  555. Dr. G. Vijay

  556. Vispi Balaporia

  557. Partha Ganguly

  558. Abdul Rahman

  559. Mohammed Abdul Aleem

  560. Syed Deen

  561. Pillai

  562. Vineet Tiwari

  563. Shareef Ambalath

  564. Saeed Bahamed

  565. Sarfraj Alam

  566. Jawed Naqvi

  567. Rahi Bhide

  568. S Gurudutt

  569. Rahi Bhide

  570. Angbin Yasmin

  571. Eric Pinto

  572. Geeta Thatra

  573. Aliya Fatima

  574. KSJacob

  575. Iqbal

  576. Rajeshri

  577. Ejaz shaikh

  578. Shaunak

  579. Mohamned Abdul Jabbar.

  580. Rahman

  581. P Radhakrishnan

  582. Shaikh Nizamuddin

  583. Sameer Khan

  584. Jennifer Mirza

  585. Saeed Mirza

  586. Jacob Nellithanam

  587. Anis Ahmad khan

  588. Shahnawaz Akhtar

  589. Osama Hasan

  590. Kalpana Banhatti

  591. Mahmafasraf Mulla

  592. Vishwanath

  593. Sanjeev Kumar Singh

  594. Anita Singh

  595. Vimala.k.s

  596. T.Surendra Rao

  597. Mona Ambegaonkar

  598. Zaheer Abbas

  599. VSKrishna

  600. Ghazala Anjum

  601. Violet Braganza

  602. Arif Kapadia

  603. Rani Day

  604. Syed habeeb

  605. Ravi Chopra

  606. Veena Pinto

  607. Sruti Visweswaran

  608. Karuna M

  609. Puranb Bartwal

  610. Arun Khobragade

  611. Prem Prakash Verma

  612. Walter Fernandes

  613. Irfan  Suleman  Bhiwandiwala

  614. Sumithra

  615. Shazia Shaikh

  616. Siraj Dutta

  617. Mir waliullah

  618. Meghna Mukherjee

  619. Radhika Menon

  620. Rashmi Munikempanna

  621. Anushri Alva

  622. Selwin Rebello

  623. N.Umasankari

  624. Deep Chand Kabir

  625. Shuaib

  626. Aqueel Ur Rehman

  627. Aruna Burte

  628. Rajinder Chaudhary

  629. K V Eswara Prasad

  630. Mohd Abuzar

  631. Ziaul Haque

  632. Kirity Roy

  633. Shaheela Shah 

  634. Salman Sultan

  635. Jyoti Smmi

  636. Leena George

  637. Sheelu Francis

  638. [email protected]

  639. Vineet Tiwari 

  640. Namrata Sen

  641. bhattacharyyabikashranjan

  642. abde mannaan yusuf

  643. Dunu Roy

  644. Mani Shankar Aiyar

  645. Mukul Dube

  646. Dr Aparajita Sharma

  647. Vijay Prasad

  648. Akhil Almeida

  649. Nirja Bhatnagar

  650. Priyanka Varma

  651. Vinod Erat

  652. Joyce Braganza

  653. Advocate Sanjay Parikh

  654. Ghulam Peshimam

  655. Hemlata Rajan

  656. Neeladri Bhattacharya

  657. Zainul Saghar

  658. Mithilesh Kumar

  659. Vivan Sundaram

  660. Swatija Manorama

  661. Md Aqueel Ahmed

  662. Gurdeep Chawla

  663. Sayed Parvez Mustafa

  664. Prashant S Bhonsle

  665. Rachana Kapoor

  666. Pamela Philipose

  667. A G kaiser

  668. Dev

  669. Philo Thomas

  670. Romar Correa

  671. Mirza Muqeem Baih

  672. Shewar

  673. Mrinalini R

  674. satish s bodh

  675. Venkatesh Athreya

  676. Indrani Bhattacharya

  677. Vandana Kulkarni

  678. vaghela rimmi

  679. Aman

  680. Mahamud Padubidri

  681. S P Udayakumaran

  682. Sudershan Gera

  683. B Silpa Rani

  684. Jyothi A., NFIW

  685. Bina Sarkar Ellias

  686. Amarjit Singh

  687. Mangal Bawskar

  688. Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi

  689. Ain Rezavi

  690. shafique

  691. Rudi Heredia

  692. Mrinmoy Dutta

  693. shobha

  694. akram naquib

  695. Vinod Shemron

  696. Lalita

  697. Sundari

  698. Anil Janvijay

  699. Immanuel S

  700. Hina Mircin

  701. Pervin Mahoney

  702. Vinay Jha

  703. Rajesh Darak

  704. P M Quadir

  705. Suresh Bhat B.

  706. jaya sharma

  707. Elackia

  708. MMPSingh / Rekha Awasthi

  709. Dr. Ritumbra Manuvie

  710. Alryk

  711. Aarushi Mahajan

  712. Professor R Balasubramanian

  713. Kripa Ananthpur

  714. Bhavya

  715. Osama Qamar

  716. Utsal Karani

  717. Jawed Shaikh

  718. Ejaj Attar

  719. Santosh Nasine

  720. Ravi Nitesh

  721. Jamuna Ramakrishna

  722. Sayyed Shah Wayez

  723. Dakerlin Mukhim

  724. Sachin Savur

  725. Anupama

  726. Mohammed Saleem

  727. Mahnoor yar Khan

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The anti-CAB stir intensifies in Assam

A 11-hour bandh had been called in the state to pressure the government to revoke the unconstitutional CAB

10 Dec 2019

AssamImage Courtesy: nenow.in

The state of Assam has come to a standstill in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) being passed by the LokSabha with 311 votes. Protestors have stirred up in rage and the agitation has now reached the State Secretariat.

Thousands of people had taken to the streets yesterday itself, after the Bill was tabled in the LokSabha. Three ethnic groups had called for a strike against it and had garnered tremendous support from protestors.

However, the situation worsened after the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha at midnight. Today, the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) and All Assam Students Union (AASU), along with the Left, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and other democratic parties, had called for a ‘bandh’ to oppose CAB 2019.

A total bandh prevailed from East to West Assam – from Sadiya to Dhubri, with no public vehicles plying over the state. According to reports, a bike was burned down by agitators in the heart of the city in Hatigaon, Guwahati. Eventually, after reports in the media, some private vehicles that were running, went off the roads too. Train services were disrupted, with over 70% of the trains being cancelled. Corporate offices and other organizations too were shut in the light of the bandh.

At 3 pm, the situation worsened with agitators attacking the residence of BJP member and Guwahati Lok Sabha MP Queen Ojha; allegedly entering the compound of the house. Later, protestors, mostly the general public that was not affiliated to any particular group, came out spontaneously and marched to attack the residence of influential state Cabinet Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sharma.

A huge number of people, including AASU members, charged to the Assam Secretariat area trying to attack MLA quarters, while also gheraoing the convoy of Assam education minister Siddharth Bhattacharya following which he escaped from the spot.

Keshab Mahanta, Cabinet Minister for Science and Technology who had wished to attend the Shahid Diwas (martyr’s day) organised by AASU, escaped from the venue at Swahid Nyas after being rebuked and chased away by protestors.

In more than 50 places in Guwahati, heavy public protests erupted across all district and sub-divisional headquarters, with agitators raising “anti-CAB” and “anti-BJP” slogans in opposition of the Bill.

In Bijni, tension broke out as bandh supporters torched vegetables at shops in defiance of their opening during the bandh. In Bongaigaon, the situation is still tense with news of CAB supporters allegedly having attacked anti-CAB protestors in the area. In Dhubri district’s Bilasipara, CAB supporters and anti-CAB protestors burst forth in a scuffle deteriorating matters further.

All over the state, with the heightened intensity of the agitation, a scuffle broke out between security forces and agitating groups. The police had to resort to lathi charge in Maligaon, Adabari and Ganeshpuri to pacify the agitators.

In Dispur too, events took a violent turn with the police using lathi charge on agitating groups to disperse them, thereby injuring many. However, the police has failed to dampen their spirit and the protestors are currently staging a ‘dharna’, a sit-in demonstration, shouting anti-CAB slogans at the MLA hostel in the area.

At 3:45 PM, a public mob of not less than 10,000 people mobilized in front of the BJP state office at Hengerabari was pushed back by security personnel in a bid to maintain law and order across the state.

The situation, worsening rapidly, is similar throughout the state – through its interior regions as well as at the State’s headquarters in the city.

In Tripura’s Dhalai district, a public mob turned violent inviting fire from the police in which Bethel Tripura was injured seriously. Following this, the Tripura government has cut-off internet and mobile services in the state for 48 hours to bring the situation under control.

Though some parties in power are supporting the CAB, the public has come down heavily in opposition to the same, taking to the streets to express displeasure over the government’s decision to impose it on the citizens of India.

Currently, the government has imposed Section 144 all over the state and security measures have been tightened in the light of the current turbulence that has been witnessed all over.

In solidarity with the protestors, all members belonging to the performing arts industry – be it actors, singers or artists have taken a unanimous decision to oppose the unconstitutional CAB. They are staging a ‘dharna’ at Chandmari in Guwahati city and have categorically stated that they will boycott all government programmes till the CAB is not withdrawn. Any artist found to be overstepping this decision will be boycotted by the members of the industry. They have also decided to not be a part of the Indo-Japan meet to be held in Assam from December 15 – 17 which will see Indian PM Modi and Japan PM Shinzo Abe visiting the state.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday has seen stiff opposition from people all over India. If this bill becomes a law, it is sure to destroy the secular fabric of the country as it will bring with itself long-lasting, unfathomable and irreversible repercussions that will only further push the minorities to the peripheries eventually changing the picture of a democratic nation.

Related:

Citizenship Amendment Bill passes, but what does this mean?

CAB tabled in LokSabha

Anti CAB Protests Rock the North East

The anti-CAB stir intensifies in Assam

A 11-hour bandh had been called in the state to pressure the government to revoke the unconstitutional CAB

AssamImage Courtesy: nenow.in

The state of Assam has come to a standstill in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) being passed by the LokSabha with 311 votes. Protestors have stirred up in rage and the agitation has now reached the State Secretariat.

Thousands of people had taken to the streets yesterday itself, after the Bill was tabled in the LokSabha. Three ethnic groups had called for a strike against it and had garnered tremendous support from protestors.

However, the situation worsened after the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha at midnight. Today, the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) and All Assam Students Union (AASU), along with the Left, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and other democratic parties, had called for a ‘bandh’ to oppose CAB 2019.

A total bandh prevailed from East to West Assam – from Sadiya to Dhubri, with no public vehicles plying over the state. According to reports, a bike was burned down by agitators in the heart of the city in Hatigaon, Guwahati. Eventually, after reports in the media, some private vehicles that were running, went off the roads too. Train services were disrupted, with over 70% of the trains being cancelled. Corporate offices and other organizations too were shut in the light of the bandh.

At 3 pm, the situation worsened with agitators attacking the residence of BJP member and Guwahati Lok Sabha MP Queen Ojha; allegedly entering the compound of the house. Later, protestors, mostly the general public that was not affiliated to any particular group, came out spontaneously and marched to attack the residence of influential state Cabinet Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sharma.

A huge number of people, including AASU members, charged to the Assam Secretariat area trying to attack MLA quarters, while also gheraoing the convoy of Assam education minister Siddharth Bhattacharya following which he escaped from the spot.

Keshab Mahanta, Cabinet Minister for Science and Technology who had wished to attend the Shahid Diwas (martyr’s day) organised by AASU, escaped from the venue at Swahid Nyas after being rebuked and chased away by protestors.

In more than 50 places in Guwahati, heavy public protests erupted across all district and sub-divisional headquarters, with agitators raising “anti-CAB” and “anti-BJP” slogans in opposition of the Bill.

In Bijni, tension broke out as bandh supporters torched vegetables at shops in defiance of their opening during the bandh. In Bongaigaon, the situation is still tense with news of CAB supporters allegedly having attacked anti-CAB protestors in the area. In Dhubri district’s Bilasipara, CAB supporters and anti-CAB protestors burst forth in a scuffle deteriorating matters further.

All over the state, with the heightened intensity of the agitation, a scuffle broke out between security forces and agitating groups. The police had to resort to lathi charge in Maligaon, Adabari and Ganeshpuri to pacify the agitators.

In Dispur too, events took a violent turn with the police using lathi charge on agitating groups to disperse them, thereby injuring many. However, the police has failed to dampen their spirit and the protestors are currently staging a ‘dharna’, a sit-in demonstration, shouting anti-CAB slogans at the MLA hostel in the area.

At 3:45 PM, a public mob of not less than 10,000 people mobilized in front of the BJP state office at Hengerabari was pushed back by security personnel in a bid to maintain law and order across the state.

The situation, worsening rapidly, is similar throughout the state – through its interior regions as well as at the State’s headquarters in the city.

In Tripura’s Dhalai district, a public mob turned violent inviting fire from the police in which Bethel Tripura was injured seriously. Following this, the Tripura government has cut-off internet and mobile services in the state for 48 hours to bring the situation under control.

Though some parties in power are supporting the CAB, the public has come down heavily in opposition to the same, taking to the streets to express displeasure over the government’s decision to impose it on the citizens of India.

Currently, the government has imposed Section 144 all over the state and security measures have been tightened in the light of the current turbulence that has been witnessed all over.

In solidarity with the protestors, all members belonging to the performing arts industry – be it actors, singers or artists have taken a unanimous decision to oppose the unconstitutional CAB. They are staging a ‘dharna’ at Chandmari in Guwahati city and have categorically stated that they will boycott all government programmes till the CAB is not withdrawn. Any artist found to be overstepping this decision will be boycotted by the members of the industry. They have also decided to not be a part of the Indo-Japan meet to be held in Assam from December 15 – 17 which will see Indian PM Modi and Japan PM Shinzo Abe visiting the state.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday has seen stiff opposition from people all over India. If this bill becomes a law, it is sure to destroy the secular fabric of the country as it will bring with itself long-lasting, unfathomable and irreversible repercussions that will only further push the minorities to the peripheries eventually changing the picture of a democratic nation.

Related:

Citizenship Amendment Bill passes, but what does this mean?

CAB tabled in LokSabha

Anti CAB Protests Rock the North East

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48-hr Mobile Internet Ban as NE boils Over Citizenship Amendment Bill: Tripura

In view of the fast detiorating situation, the state government said that it is prohibiting use of SMS and mobile data for 48 hours, beginning 2pm on Tuesday. This shall be applicable for press messages also, the letter read.

10 Dec 2019

New Delhi/Tripura: The Tripura administration has shut down internet service for 48 hours in wake of surging protests against the against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha on the midnight of December 9/10..

"It has been reported by Director General of Police, Tripura that rumours are being mongered about ethnic clashes between tribal and non-tribal in Manu and Kanchanpur areas. This has created violent situation in the area. It has been noticed that SMS, WhatsApp and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are being used for transmission of fake images and videos as well as text messages which have potential to incite violence in the State at a larger rate," Tripura government said in a letter.

In view of the volatile situation, the state government has said that it is prohibiting use of SMS and mobile data for 48 hours, beginning 2pm on Tuesday. This shall be applicable for press messages also, the letter read.

All semblance of normal life has been hit in Tripura following an indefinite bandh called by tribal parties and organisations against the Bill. Most government schools, offices, banks and financial institutions in the council areas remained closed and vehicles were off the roads on Monday.

It is not just Tripura. Other states in the North East are also facing similar protests. Huge processions were taken out in different areas of Guwahati, with protesters raising slogans against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.


Related:
CAB 2019 is not just Unconstitutional, it is meant to create communal divides

48-hr Mobile Internet Ban as NE boils Over Citizenship Amendment Bill: Tripura

In view of the fast detiorating situation, the state government said that it is prohibiting use of SMS and mobile data for 48 hours, beginning 2pm on Tuesday. This shall be applicable for press messages also, the letter read.

New Delhi/Tripura: The Tripura administration has shut down internet service for 48 hours in wake of surging protests against the against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha on the midnight of December 9/10..

"It has been reported by Director General of Police, Tripura that rumours are being mongered about ethnic clashes between tribal and non-tribal in Manu and Kanchanpur areas. This has created violent situation in the area. It has been noticed that SMS, WhatsApp and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are being used for transmission of fake images and videos as well as text messages which have potential to incite violence in the State at a larger rate," Tripura government said in a letter.

In view of the volatile situation, the state government has said that it is prohibiting use of SMS and mobile data for 48 hours, beginning 2pm on Tuesday. This shall be applicable for press messages also, the letter read.

All semblance of normal life has been hit in Tripura following an indefinite bandh called by tribal parties and organisations against the Bill. Most government schools, offices, banks and financial institutions in the council areas remained closed and vehicles were off the roads on Monday.

It is not just Tripura. Other states in the North East are also facing similar protests. Huge processions were taken out in different areas of Guwahati, with protesters raising slogans against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.


Related:
CAB 2019 is not just Unconstitutional, it is meant to create communal divides

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Kashmir resolution introduced in US House of Representatives

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, an Indian origin US lawmaker, has moved a resolution in the House of Representatives urging India to “to end the restrictions on communications and mass detentions in Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible and preserve religious freedom for all residents.”

10 Dec 2019

kashmir

The resolution, that is co-sponsored by Republican Congressman Steve Watkins, says, “on August 5, 2019, the Government of India cut all telephone service and internet access in Jammu and Kashmir, the 53rd time the Indian government restricted communication in Kashmir in 2019.” It explains developments leading to the partial lifting of the communication blockade saying, “Government of India announced it had restored landline phone service to Jammu and Kashmir on September 5, 2019, and partially restored cellphone service on October 14, 2019.”

The resolution further says, “60 percent of the 6,000,000 mobile subscribers in Jammu and Kashmir rely on prepaid cellphones, which remain inoperable for communication, and text messaging and mobile internet services remain suspended.” It adds, “people across the United States maintain ties with family and friends in Jammu and Kashmir and have reported difficulty contacting their loved ones since the communications blockade was imposed on August 5, 2019.”

On the subject of the brewing human rights crisis in Kashmir, the resolution says, “Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and independent reporters have documented detentions and harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir;” and that, “international human rights observers have documented the police’s use of excessive force against detained people and excessive and indiscriminate use of pellet shotguns, tear gas, and rubber bullets against protesters.” As a chilling reminder of how children are perhaps the worst affected, the resolution says, “Jammu and Kashmir police have acknowledged that 144 children, as young as 9 years old, have been arrested.”

The resolution goes on to urge the government of India “to ensure 8 that any actions taken in pursuit of legitimate security priorities respect the human rights of all people 10 and adhere to international human rights law.” The resolution makes the following requests:

(A)   lift the remaining restrictions on communication and to restore internet access across all of Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible;

(B)   refrain from the use of threats and excessive force against detained people and peaceful protesters;

(C)   swiftly release arbitrarily detained people in Jammu and Kashmir;

(D)   refrain from conditioning the release of detained people on their willingness to sign bonds prohibiting any political activities and speeches;

(E)    allow international human rights observers and journalists to access Jammu and Kashmir and operate freely throughout India, without threats;

(F)    condemn, at the highest levels, all religiously motivated violence, including that violence which targets against religious minorities.

The entire resolution may be read here:

Previously, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib had also raised concerns about the situation in Kashmir. In a statement on September 13, 2019 Tlaib had said, "While I have deep respect for India and its important relationship with the United States, I condemn the Indian government’s revocation of Articles 370 and 35A, the communications blockade it has imposed, its suppression of life-saving medical care, and the reports of widespread violence, torture, and other human rights violations being carried out in Jammu and Kashmir.” The entire statement may be read here.

In November, Tlaib moved a resolution before the House of Representatives “condemning the human rights violations taking place in Jammu and Kashmir and supporting Kashmiri self-determination.”

Tlaib’s resolution said, “Government of India has unilaterally changed the status of Jammu and Kashmir without a direct consultation or the consent of the Kashmiri people.” It added, “Government of India has used the arrest and indefinite detention of thousands of people to control civilians of all ages, including minors as young as nine, in Jammu and Kashmir using the Public Safety Act, which violates article 9(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;”and that “Government of India has detained Kashmiri civil society leaders of all political perspectives without charge or trial.” The entire text of Tlaib’s resolution may be read here.

Kashmir resolution introduced in US House of Representatives

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, an Indian origin US lawmaker, has moved a resolution in the House of Representatives urging India to “to end the restrictions on communications and mass detentions in Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible and preserve religious freedom for all residents.”

kashmir

The resolution, that is co-sponsored by Republican Congressman Steve Watkins, says, “on August 5, 2019, the Government of India cut all telephone service and internet access in Jammu and Kashmir, the 53rd time the Indian government restricted communication in Kashmir in 2019.” It explains developments leading to the partial lifting of the communication blockade saying, “Government of India announced it had restored landline phone service to Jammu and Kashmir on September 5, 2019, and partially restored cellphone service on October 14, 2019.”

The resolution further says, “60 percent of the 6,000,000 mobile subscribers in Jammu and Kashmir rely on prepaid cellphones, which remain inoperable for communication, and text messaging and mobile internet services remain suspended.” It adds, “people across the United States maintain ties with family and friends in Jammu and Kashmir and have reported difficulty contacting their loved ones since the communications blockade was imposed on August 5, 2019.”

On the subject of the brewing human rights crisis in Kashmir, the resolution says, “Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and independent reporters have documented detentions and harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir;” and that, “international human rights observers have documented the police’s use of excessive force against detained people and excessive and indiscriminate use of pellet shotguns, tear gas, and rubber bullets against protesters.” As a chilling reminder of how children are perhaps the worst affected, the resolution says, “Jammu and Kashmir police have acknowledged that 144 children, as young as 9 years old, have been arrested.”

The resolution goes on to urge the government of India “to ensure 8 that any actions taken in pursuit of legitimate security priorities respect the human rights of all people 10 and adhere to international human rights law.” The resolution makes the following requests:

(A)   lift the remaining restrictions on communication and to restore internet access across all of Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible;

(B)   refrain from the use of threats and excessive force against detained people and peaceful protesters;

(C)   swiftly release arbitrarily detained people in Jammu and Kashmir;

(D)   refrain from conditioning the release of detained people on their willingness to sign bonds prohibiting any political activities and speeches;

(E)    allow international human rights observers and journalists to access Jammu and Kashmir and operate freely throughout India, without threats;

(F)    condemn, at the highest levels, all religiously motivated violence, including that violence which targets against religious minorities.

The entire resolution may be read here:

Previously, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib had also raised concerns about the situation in Kashmir. In a statement on September 13, 2019 Tlaib had said, "While I have deep respect for India and its important relationship with the United States, I condemn the Indian government’s revocation of Articles 370 and 35A, the communications blockade it has imposed, its suppression of life-saving medical care, and the reports of widespread violence, torture, and other human rights violations being carried out in Jammu and Kashmir.” The entire statement may be read here.

In November, Tlaib moved a resolution before the House of Representatives “condemning the human rights violations taking place in Jammu and Kashmir and supporting Kashmiri self-determination.”

Tlaib’s resolution said, “Government of India has unilaterally changed the status of Jammu and Kashmir without a direct consultation or the consent of the Kashmiri people.” It added, “Government of India has used the arrest and indefinite detention of thousands of people to control civilians of all ages, including minors as young as nine, in Jammu and Kashmir using the Public Safety Act, which violates article 9(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;”and that “Government of India has detained Kashmiri civil society leaders of all political perspectives without charge or trial.” The entire text of Tlaib’s resolution may be read here.

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USCIRF raises concerns about CAB, seeks sanctions against Amit Shah

10 Dec 2019

Amit Shah

After the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed in the Lok Sabha after a marathon 12-hour debate on Monday night, the The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has raised concerns about the future of secularism in India.

The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. 

In a press release, USCIRF says, “The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is deeply troubled by the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), originally introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah, in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian Parliament) given the religion criterion in the bill.”

It elaborates, “The CAB is a dangerous turn in the wrong direction; it runs counter to India’s rich history of secular pluralism and the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law regardless of faith. In conjunction with the ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) process in Assam and nationwide NRC that the Home Minister seeks to propose, USCIRF fears that the Indian government is creating a religious test for Indian citizenship that would strip citizenship from millions of Muslims.”

Fearing that the bill will also clear the upper house of the parliament, it says, “If the CAB passes in both houses of parliament, the United States government should consider sanctions against the Home Minister and other principal leadership.”

This is not the first time, the USCIRF has raised concerns about religious freedom under the present regime. In its 2019 report, it had said, “Various nationalist groups in India have expanded the ideology of Hindutva, or “Hinduness,” which has three pillars—common nation, race, and culture—and forms the basis of an oftentimes exclusionary national narrative with a singular focus on the rights of Hindus.” It added, “The influence of Hindutva groups goes beyond politics and government. For example, Hindutva groups have expanded the scope and size of religious schools—which often teach intolerant religious ideology in nongovernmental private educational systems—to nearly four million students, and have tried to distribute books promoting religious intolerance in public schools.” 
 

Related:

Citizenship Amendment Bill passes, but what does this mean?
A Legislative Bill for Faith-based Citizenship: How India Has Reached This Point of Disaster?
BJP has been laying the base for a new CAB (Citizenship Bill) since 2015
Anti-CAB protests intensify in Assam

USCIRF raises concerns about CAB, seeks sanctions against Amit Shah

Amit Shah

After the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed in the Lok Sabha after a marathon 12-hour debate on Monday night, the The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has raised concerns about the future of secularism in India.

The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. 

In a press release, USCIRF says, “The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is deeply troubled by the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), originally introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah, in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian Parliament) given the religion criterion in the bill.”

It elaborates, “The CAB is a dangerous turn in the wrong direction; it runs counter to India’s rich history of secular pluralism and the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law regardless of faith. In conjunction with the ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) process in Assam and nationwide NRC that the Home Minister seeks to propose, USCIRF fears that the Indian government is creating a religious test for Indian citizenship that would strip citizenship from millions of Muslims.”

Fearing that the bill will also clear the upper house of the parliament, it says, “If the CAB passes in both houses of parliament, the United States government should consider sanctions against the Home Minister and other principal leadership.”

This is not the first time, the USCIRF has raised concerns about religious freedom under the present regime. In its 2019 report, it had said, “Various nationalist groups in India have expanded the ideology of Hindutva, or “Hinduness,” which has three pillars—common nation, race, and culture—and forms the basis of an oftentimes exclusionary national narrative with a singular focus on the rights of Hindus.” It added, “The influence of Hindutva groups goes beyond politics and government. For example, Hindutva groups have expanded the scope and size of religious schools—which often teach intolerant religious ideology in nongovernmental private educational systems—to nearly four million students, and have tried to distribute books promoting religious intolerance in public schools.” 
 

Related:

Citizenship Amendment Bill passes, but what does this mean?
A Legislative Bill for Faith-based Citizenship: How India Has Reached This Point of Disaster?
BJP has been laying the base for a new CAB (Citizenship Bill) since 2015
Anti-CAB protests intensify in Assam

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Anti CAB Protests Rock the North East

SabrangIndia 10 Dec 2019

Massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill took place all over Assam on 9th December. Jorhar, Guwahati, Bongaigaon, Gohpur and Dhubri saw hundreds of people on the streets and the protests are said to continue.

Anti CAB Protests Rock the North East

Massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill took place all over Assam on 9th December. Jorhar, Guwahati, Bongaigaon, Gohpur and Dhubri saw hundreds of people on the streets and the protests are said to continue.

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Two-Nation theory, CAB and the idea of India - message of brotherhood by Sardar Patel

10 Dec 2019

Listen to this message of brotherhood and what being an Indian means. In light of the divisive citizenship amendment bill passed by parliament yesterday, the home minister, prime minister and everybody who believe that India belongs to one community alone, this is a message of brotherhood from Sardar Patel

Two-Nation theory, CAB and the idea of India - message of brotherhood by Sardar Patel

Listen to this message of brotherhood and what being an Indian means. In light of the divisive citizenship amendment bill passed by parliament yesterday, the home minister, prime minister and everybody who believe that India belongs to one community alone, this is a message of brotherhood from Sardar Patel

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Citizenship Amendment Bill passes, but what does this mean?

The Citizenship Amendment Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 9 and passed at midnight after a twelve-hour debate. Our team went through the text of the bill with a fine-tooth comb and here’s what we found.

10 Dec 2019

Citizenship bill

The present regime has been silently laying down the groundwork for the Citizenship Amendment Bill since 2015 via amendments of 2015 and 2016 in the Foreigners Order, 1948 and Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950.

The addition to the Foreigners Order, 1948 reads as follows:

“3a. Exemption of certain class of foreigners.- (i) persons belonging to minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution and entered into India on or before the 31st December, 2014”

The addition to Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950 reads as follows:

“(ha) persons belonging to minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution and entered into India on or before the 31st December, 2014- (i) without valid documents including passport or other travel documents; or (ii) with valid documents including passport or other travel document and the validity of any of such documents has expired: provided that provision of this clause shall take effect from the date of publication of this notification in the official gazette.”

In 2016, the above rules were amended to include Afghanistan.

Hence, one can say that these amendments were made since 2015; it happened right under our nose and it is now that we are being confronted with this idea. 
 

CAB, simply put

If CAB is passed in both houses of Parliament and notified in the Gazette of India, the Citizenship Act, 1955 will stand amended and it will mean that all Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 without any valid travel documents such as passport, will not be considered an illegal migrant at all. In fact, such persons will be granted Indian citizenship by proving that they have resided in India for 5 years and additionally for a period of 12 months, right before applying for citizenship by naturalization.

By implication, or interpretation, all Muslims who seek Indian citizenship by naturalisation (application hitherto made after 12 years residence as migrants/refugees) will not be able for grant of citizenship by right. The statelessness which will undoubtedly result is a cause for deep concern as their fates could lie (not in the "Refugee" or "transit"  camps as they are at the moment) but in detention camps. The legal basis of these detention camps is a fundamental questions as is the abysmal conditions of non-transparency in which they operate. 

There are also concerns that this fundamental, statutory exclusion could, by manipulation and interpretation also impact those Indian Muslims who have never migrated, have always lived here for generations, but will subsequently be required to produce a slew of documents hitherto not a available to over 40% of Indians. (especially as and when the NPR-NRC exercise is launched). 


CAB 2019 – In Depth

Section 2(1)(b)

The main provision of CAB is the insertion of proviso in Section 2(1)(b); this clause of the sub-section includes the definition of an “illegal migrant”. The Act defines illegal migrant as a foreigner who has entered India without valid passport or travel documents or one who entered with such valid documents but stayed on after their expiry.

The amendment effectively exempts all illegal migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities hailing from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014, from being considered as illegal migrants.

The proviso reads as follows:

"Provided that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act;".

Section 6(B)

Under the main section titled “Citizenship by naturalisation” has been inserted section 6(B). it empowers an authority specified by the central government to grant a certificate of registration or certificate of naturalisation to a person mentioned in the proviso mentioned above; and such person will be deemed to be Indian citizen from his/her date of entry into India. Further, clause (3) of section 6(B) also provides that any proceeding pending against a person under this section in respect of illegal migration or citizenship shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship to him.

Quite clearly this section provides for grant of citizenship to the migrants as aforementioned and it will naturally apply to Assam’s non-tribal areas (excluded from 6th schedule of Constitution) where NRC has been declared. Thus, granting citizenship to all non-Muslims in Assam as well; effectively giving a communal character to even the NRC in Assam, which was not the case until now, neither was such the intention of the Assam Accord.

Moreover, this section also includes sub-clause 4 of section 6(B), which mentioned exceptions as to application of this law. It states in simple language as follows:

“Nothing in this section shall apply to tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under "The Inner Line" notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873”

Section 7D

A sub-section (da) is being inserted after sub-section (d) under this section, which essentially deals with cancellation of registration as overseas citizen of India. The insertion seeks to cancel such registration if the cardholder violates any provision of the Citizenship Act or any other law as will be specified by the Centre; albeit such order shall be passed only after the cardholder is given reasonable opportunity of being heard.

Third Schedule

There is also a proposal for insertion to the third schedule of the Act which deals with ‘Qualifications for Naturalisation’. One of the qualifications for naturalisation is that the person should have been residing in India or been in service of the government throughout the 12 months preceding application for citizenship. Further out of the 14 years, preceding this 12-month period, the person should have resided or been in government service aggregately for 11 years.

This particular requirement of 11 years has been reduced to only 5 years for the non-Muslim illegal migrant from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan.

This requirement was proposed to be at 6 years in the previous version of this bill which got lapsed when Lok Sabha got dissolved earlier this year, owing to General Elections.

 
Who is exempted from CAB and why?

The provisions of CAB are full of exceptions and proviso to the current Citizenship Act. There are however some territories that are being exempted from application of these exceptions and proviso. After the north East erupted so strongly against CAB, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had invited the Chief Ministers of north-eastern States and leaders of socio-cultural bodies, students’ organisations and political parties for discussions on the plan to amend the Citizenship Act. These discussions took place on November 29 and November 30.

At this meeting, Amit Shah agreed to make some changes in the bill and assured civil society groups and political representatives that ethno-cultural concerns of all stakeholders in the North-East would be addressed, and that the Bill would provide protection to such regions and states where the Inner Line Permit (ILP) is applicable, and autonomous administration has been granted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The ILP is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. The ILP regime is under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. Section 2 of the regulation says the ILP system is present in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

As mentioned above, in Section 6B (4), the government has fulfilled its promise and exempted tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under "The Inner Line".

Further, since Manipur does not get included in either of these exemptions, while addressing the Lok Sabha when the bill was in consideration, the Union home Minister, Amit Shah mentioned that Manipur will be brought under Inner Line Permit regime and effectively out of the purview of CAB.
 

Connect the dots: NPR-NRC-CAB

Sabrang India, which has very closely been following the questions and answers in the winter session of Parliament observed that the government has been dodging questions related to NRC and CAB. Once such question was pertaining to relation between NPR and NRC. Although the answer given by the Home Ministry was fact based and oblique, the real answer may be found in an archived website of india.gov.in., under the heading “National Population Register: My Identity My Pride”

This page states, “The creation of the National Population Register (NPR) is the first step towards preparation of the NRIC (National Register of Indian Citizens)” or the commonly known NRC. It further states, “Out of the universal dataset of residents, the subset of citizens would be derived after due verification of the citizenship status. Therefore, it is compulsory for all usual residents to register under the NPR.”

The connection between the NRC and NPR is clearly enumerated on this website as it states, “The National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) will be a Register of citizens of the country. It will be prepared at the local (Village level), sub District (Tehsil/Taluk level), District, State and National level after verifying the details in the NPR and establishing the citizenship of each individual. The NRIC, therefore, would be a sub-set of the NPR.”

One can only imagine why this explanation has been dumped into the archives, given the crafty approach of our ruling government.

With NPR set to begin in April 2020 and conclude in September 2020, NRC will slowly start creeping into the big picture by the beginning or middle of next year; the big picture being “Hindu Rashtra”, the long-lost dream of right-wing extremists of India. Before you know it, the dictionary meaning of “secular” will also change along with the idea of “India” as had been envisaged by the founding fathers of our country.

The complete bill can be read here.

Related:

BJP has been laying the base for a new CAB (Citizenship Bill) since 2015
Anti-CAB protests intensify in Assam
NPR 2020 to cost close to Rs. 4,000 crores; Centre silent on connection to NRC
The Great Indian ‘CAB’cophony

 

Citizenship Amendment Bill passes, but what does this mean?

The Citizenship Amendment Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 9 and passed at midnight after a twelve-hour debate. Our team went through the text of the bill with a fine-tooth comb and here’s what we found.

Citizenship bill

The present regime has been silently laying down the groundwork for the Citizenship Amendment Bill since 2015 via amendments of 2015 and 2016 in the Foreigners Order, 1948 and Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950.

The addition to the Foreigners Order, 1948 reads as follows:

“3a. Exemption of certain class of foreigners.- (i) persons belonging to minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution and entered into India on or before the 31st December, 2014”

The addition to Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950 reads as follows:

“(ha) persons belonging to minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution and entered into India on or before the 31st December, 2014- (i) without valid documents including passport or other travel documents; or (ii) with valid documents including passport or other travel document and the validity of any of such documents has expired: provided that provision of this clause shall take effect from the date of publication of this notification in the official gazette.”

In 2016, the above rules were amended to include Afghanistan.

Hence, one can say that these amendments were made since 2015; it happened right under our nose and it is now that we are being confronted with this idea. 
 

CAB, simply put

If CAB is passed in both houses of Parliament and notified in the Gazette of India, the Citizenship Act, 1955 will stand amended and it will mean that all Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 without any valid travel documents such as passport, will not be considered an illegal migrant at all. In fact, such persons will be granted Indian citizenship by proving that they have resided in India for 5 years and additionally for a period of 12 months, right before applying for citizenship by naturalization.

By implication, or interpretation, all Muslims who seek Indian citizenship by naturalisation (application hitherto made after 12 years residence as migrants/refugees) will not be able for grant of citizenship by right. The statelessness which will undoubtedly result is a cause for deep concern as their fates could lie (not in the "Refugee" or "transit"  camps as they are at the moment) but in detention camps. The legal basis of these detention camps is a fundamental questions as is the abysmal conditions of non-transparency in which they operate. 

There are also concerns that this fundamental, statutory exclusion could, by manipulation and interpretation also impact those Indian Muslims who have never migrated, have always lived here for generations, but will subsequently be required to produce a slew of documents hitherto not a available to over 40% of Indians. (especially as and when the NPR-NRC exercise is launched). 


CAB 2019 – In Depth

Section 2(1)(b)

The main provision of CAB is the insertion of proviso in Section 2(1)(b); this clause of the sub-section includes the definition of an “illegal migrant”. The Act defines illegal migrant as a foreigner who has entered India without valid passport or travel documents or one who entered with such valid documents but stayed on after their expiry.

The amendment effectively exempts all illegal migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities hailing from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014, from being considered as illegal migrants.

The proviso reads as follows:

"Provided that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act;".

Section 6(B)

Under the main section titled “Citizenship by naturalisation” has been inserted section 6(B). it empowers an authority specified by the central government to grant a certificate of registration or certificate of naturalisation to a person mentioned in the proviso mentioned above; and such person will be deemed to be Indian citizen from his/her date of entry into India. Further, clause (3) of section 6(B) also provides that any proceeding pending against a person under this section in respect of illegal migration or citizenship shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship to him.

Quite clearly this section provides for grant of citizenship to the migrants as aforementioned and it will naturally apply to Assam’s non-tribal areas (excluded from 6th schedule of Constitution) where NRC has been declared. Thus, granting citizenship to all non-Muslims in Assam as well; effectively giving a communal character to even the NRC in Assam, which was not the case until now, neither was such the intention of the Assam Accord.

Moreover, this section also includes sub-clause 4 of section 6(B), which mentioned exceptions as to application of this law. It states in simple language as follows:

“Nothing in this section shall apply to tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under "The Inner Line" notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873”

Section 7D

A sub-section (da) is being inserted after sub-section (d) under this section, which essentially deals with cancellation of registration as overseas citizen of India. The insertion seeks to cancel such registration if the cardholder violates any provision of the Citizenship Act or any other law as will be specified by the Centre; albeit such order shall be passed only after the cardholder is given reasonable opportunity of being heard.

Third Schedule

There is also a proposal for insertion to the third schedule of the Act which deals with ‘Qualifications for Naturalisation’. One of the qualifications for naturalisation is that the person should have been residing in India or been in service of the government throughout the 12 months preceding application for citizenship. Further out of the 14 years, preceding this 12-month period, the person should have resided or been in government service aggregately for 11 years.

This particular requirement of 11 years has been reduced to only 5 years for the non-Muslim illegal migrant from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan.

This requirement was proposed to be at 6 years in the previous version of this bill which got lapsed when Lok Sabha got dissolved earlier this year, owing to General Elections.

 
Who is exempted from CAB and why?

The provisions of CAB are full of exceptions and proviso to the current Citizenship Act. There are however some territories that are being exempted from application of these exceptions and proviso. After the north East erupted so strongly against CAB, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had invited the Chief Ministers of north-eastern States and leaders of socio-cultural bodies, students’ organisations and political parties for discussions on the plan to amend the Citizenship Act. These discussions took place on November 29 and November 30.

At this meeting, Amit Shah agreed to make some changes in the bill and assured civil society groups and political representatives that ethno-cultural concerns of all stakeholders in the North-East would be addressed, and that the Bill would provide protection to such regions and states where the Inner Line Permit (ILP) is applicable, and autonomous administration has been granted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The ILP is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. The ILP regime is under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. Section 2 of the regulation says the ILP system is present in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

As mentioned above, in Section 6B (4), the government has fulfilled its promise and exempted tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under "The Inner Line".

Further, since Manipur does not get included in either of these exemptions, while addressing the Lok Sabha when the bill was in consideration, the Union home Minister, Amit Shah mentioned that Manipur will be brought under Inner Line Permit regime and effectively out of the purview of CAB.
 

Connect the dots: NPR-NRC-CAB

Sabrang India, which has very closely been following the questions and answers in the winter session of Parliament observed that the government has been dodging questions related to NRC and CAB. Once such question was pertaining to relation between NPR and NRC. Although the answer given by the Home Ministry was fact based and oblique, the real answer may be found in an archived website of india.gov.in., under the heading “National Population Register: My Identity My Pride”

This page states, “The creation of the National Population Register (NPR) is the first step towards preparation of the NRIC (National Register of Indian Citizens)” or the commonly known NRC. It further states, “Out of the universal dataset of residents, the subset of citizens would be derived after due verification of the citizenship status. Therefore, it is compulsory for all usual residents to register under the NPR.”

The connection between the NRC and NPR is clearly enumerated on this website as it states, “The National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) will be a Register of citizens of the country. It will be prepared at the local (Village level), sub District (Tehsil/Taluk level), District, State and National level after verifying the details in the NPR and establishing the citizenship of each individual. The NRIC, therefore, would be a sub-set of the NPR.”

One can only imagine why this explanation has been dumped into the archives, given the crafty approach of our ruling government.

With NPR set to begin in April 2020 and conclude in September 2020, NRC will slowly start creeping into the big picture by the beginning or middle of next year; the big picture being “Hindu Rashtra”, the long-lost dream of right-wing extremists of India. Before you know it, the dictionary meaning of “secular” will also change along with the idea of “India” as had been envisaged by the founding fathers of our country.

The complete bill can be read here.

Related:

BJP has been laying the base for a new CAB (Citizenship Bill) since 2015
Anti-CAB protests intensify in Assam
NPR 2020 to cost close to Rs. 4,000 crores; Centre silent on connection to NRC
The Great Indian ‘CAB’cophony

 

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Shiv Sena slams CAB, accuses BJP of “invisible partition”

In its refreshing new secular avatar, possibly brought about by pressure from alliance partners in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena on Monday joined a chorus of voices demanding answers to pertinent questions related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).

10 Dec 2019

Shiv sena

In a strongly worded editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna, the Shiv Sena not only questioned the BJP’s vote bank politics, but also wondered if it would lead to communal violence. The piece said, "There is no dearth of problems in India now but still we are inviting new ones such as CAB. It looks like the Centre has made an invisible partition of Hindus and Muslims over the bill." It went on to ask, "It is true that there is no other country for Hindus except Hindustan. But by accepting only Hindus among the illegal immigrants...will it be a trigger of a religious war in the country?"

The editorial appeared on the morning of December 9, the same day the CAB was tabled and discussed in the Lok Sabha.

And while it did not reject the CAB outright, the Shiv Sena suggested that the newly minted citizens under CAB not be granted voting rights for 25 years. This is a tactical move, as it allows the Shiv Sena a tight-rope walk balancing its relationship with the BJP at the Center and the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra. In fact, once again genuflecting at Modi’s alter, perhaps out of habit, the Shiv Sena said, “Like Pakistan, PM Modi should teach a strong lesson to other neighbouring countries torturing the communities like Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and Jains”. The piece added, “Now, he should ensure that these communities won’t have to leave their respective countries with his similar adventurous actions. This would help in strengthening the country’s internal security as well.” 

The Shiv Sena has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha and only three MPs namely, Anil Desai, Rajkumar Dhoot and Sanjay Raut in the Rajya Sabha.

Shiv Sena slams CAB, accuses BJP of “invisible partition”

In its refreshing new secular avatar, possibly brought about by pressure from alliance partners in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena on Monday joined a chorus of voices demanding answers to pertinent questions related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).

Shiv sena

In a strongly worded editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna, the Shiv Sena not only questioned the BJP’s vote bank politics, but also wondered if it would lead to communal violence. The piece said, "There is no dearth of problems in India now but still we are inviting new ones such as CAB. It looks like the Centre has made an invisible partition of Hindus and Muslims over the bill." It went on to ask, "It is true that there is no other country for Hindus except Hindustan. But by accepting only Hindus among the illegal immigrants...will it be a trigger of a religious war in the country?"

The editorial appeared on the morning of December 9, the same day the CAB was tabled and discussed in the Lok Sabha.

And while it did not reject the CAB outright, the Shiv Sena suggested that the newly minted citizens under CAB not be granted voting rights for 25 years. This is a tactical move, as it allows the Shiv Sena a tight-rope walk balancing its relationship with the BJP at the Center and the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra. In fact, once again genuflecting at Modi’s alter, perhaps out of habit, the Shiv Sena said, “Like Pakistan, PM Modi should teach a strong lesson to other neighbouring countries torturing the communities like Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and Jains”. The piece added, “Now, he should ensure that these communities won’t have to leave their respective countries with his similar adventurous actions. This would help in strengthening the country’s internal security as well.” 

The Shiv Sena has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha and only three MPs namely, Anil Desai, Rajkumar Dhoot and Sanjay Raut in the Rajya Sabha.

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Demolishing Human Rights in India

09 Dec 2019
Human Right day
Image credits: Shutterstock 


This past year from December 2018, had two significant 70th anniversaries: first, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948) and then, of the promulgation of the Constitution of India (November 26, 2019). It is quite certain that the makers of the Indian Constitution took inspiration from the UDHR. Strangely enough, as if on cue, everything possible is done by the powers that control the destiny of the nation, to demolish human rights and the values enshrined in the Constitution! There is perhaps not a day in the recent past, when the country has not witnessed  violations of human rights be it the gang rape and murder of an innocent woman, the lynching of a Muslim and for that matter, a carefully-orchestrated  and manipulative initiative to render people , ‘stateless!’

As the world observes the 71st Human Rights Day on December 10, there is perhaps just one conclusion that emerges: for the vast majority of the people of India, where human rights are concerned, it has been a truly horrendous year! Ever since the BJP-led NDA Government seized the reins of power in May 2014, there has been a steady deterioration, violation and now the demolition of human rights in the country. In the ‘Human Development Index 2018’, India reached an all –time low of 130 out of 189 countries. In several other objective and unbiased international analysis and studies, India has touched, on all parameters, abysmal depths.

India has acquired the awful and dubious distinction of being regarded as the ‘rape capital’ of the world! In a society which has consistently treated women as second class citizens, the discrimination that women have been subjected to, was accepted in several quarters as ‘normal’. Ever since, the Gujarat carnage of 2002, raping and murdering women, has been occurring with a frightening regularity. The recent gang-rape in Hyderabad sent shock waves through the nation. The chilling aspect of these sordid acts, is that if you are rich and powerful you can get away with rape and molesting women. You can even become a law maker! In May 2019, the  Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) released  a report according to which, nearly half of the newly elected Lok Sabha members have criminal charges against them, a 26% increase as compared to 2014 and a 44% increase when compared to 2009. Out of the 539 winners analysed in Lok Sabha 2019, 233 MPs or43% have declared criminal cases against themselves. After analysing data of state Assemblies and Lok Sabha, ADR found that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the most number of MPs/MLAs with cases of crimes against women. About 30% of them face very serious charges, like those related to rape and other crimes against women, murder, kidnapping.

Then are the ‘fake encounter’ killings! Four alleged rapists were arrested in the aftermath the Hyderabad gang-rape and murder; a couple of days’ later, all four of them were murdered in cold blood! The ‘justification’ of this act hardly finds any takers! A macabre ‘fairy tale’ which one cannot fool a five-year old kid with. All this, is a painful reminder of the ‘fake encounters’ in Gujarat; of how one of the  powerful men of this country was responsible for it and of the ‘untimely’ and ‘unnatural’ death of Justice Loya who refused to be compromised or bought up. Strangely enough in the case of the rapes and murder of women, if the accused are poor then they are ‘done away with’; however, if the accused are rich and powerful then the victim or the witnesses are done away with, as we have seen in the Unnao case!

On December 6, the nation remembered the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid. This year that ‘black day’ was shades darker for many! The recent Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya took a strong stand against the demolition; but then its decision to give the ‘disputed’ land to the majority community has rankled many. Sections of Muslims are already planning to file a review petition. Writing in ‘The Wire’ (9 November 2019), well-known writer and political analyst Siddharth Varadarajan says, “The court acknowledged the manner in which Ram idols were planted in the mosque was illegal and that the mosque’s demolition in 1992 was “an egregious violation of the rule of law”. Yet, the forces responsible for the demolition now find themselves in legal possession of the land. The site will be managed by a trust that the government will now set up. And the government and ruling party have in their ranks individuals who have actually been charge sheeted for conspiring to demolish the mosque”.

For more than 125 days now Kashmir has been in a state of siege! On August 5, the State was overrun in a swift, unethical and undemocratic way! In a patently unconstitutional and anti-people act, the BJP-led NDA Government abrogated Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution. The draconian and secretive manner in which the Government pushed a sensitive bill, steam-rolling all opposition, without consulting Parliament, without taking the people of Kashmir into confidence, is clear betrayal of the values embedded in the hearts and minds of most Indians. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) states, “The fact that hardly any information is currently coming out from the region is of great concern.” The Spokesperson pointed to the UNHRC’s July 8 report on the human rights conditions in Kashmir, which documented how authorities in India have “repeatedly blocked telecommunications networks to muzzle dissent, used arbitrary detention to punish political dissidents and employed excessive force when dealing with protestors leading to extrajudicial killings and serious injuries;” adding that the latest restrictions “will exacerbate the human rights situation in the region.”

Freedom of speech and expression in the country has almost become a ‘reality of the past’. In April 2019, when the World Press Freedom Index was released, India had fallen to a miserable 140 out of 180 countries. Media has been compromised, bought up, made to toe the line! This is obvious when one reads the headlines of most national dailies or listens to the electronic media! The Government now blatantly snoops into computers, taps telephones and monitors WhatsApp messages; they have also begun controlling other forms of social media.  The recent exposure that at the behest of the Government, an Israeli firm hacked into the WhatsApp messages of human rights activists, lawyers, academics, political opponents – has made it clear that this regime will destroy even the right to privacy in order to realise their anti-Constitutional agenda.

It has also been bad for human rights defenders. One hears about threats, coercion, intimidation, arrests, foisting of false cases and even death for all those who take a stand for human rights, justice and peace. Some months ago, five well known human rights activists Sudha Bharadwaj (Faridabad), Arun Ferreira (Thane), Vernon Gonsalves (Mumbai), Gautam Navlakha (Delhi) and writer P Varavara Rao (Hyderabad) were arrested on absolutely fictitious charges( most of them are still languishing in jail after repeated denial of bail); eighty - year old Jesuit Stan Swamy was searched ,hounded and his meagre personal belongings attached.  There are several others who have to bear the brunt of a very repressive political system. The ‘sedition law’ is both archaic and draconian and is still being used by the ‘powers’ to quell dissent and even to muzzle citizens when they ask questions! The amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) has now become an instrument to terrorise the citizens.

The National Register of Citizenship (NRC) is downright negation of the human rights of a citizen. Initiated in Assam, it has already ‘declared’ almost two million people stateless. The NRC together with the ‘Citizenship Amendment Bill’, assuring citizenship to all undocumented persons except those of Muslim faith, risks tearing the country apart, reopening the wounds of partition, and ultimately destroying the secular and democratic tenets of the Constitution. A few days ago campaigning in Jharkhand, the Home Minister Amit Shah said that 2024 is the deadline for completing the National Register of Citizenship across the country. “This is an extremely dangerous step and the country today stands at the brink of catastrophic human suffering and injustice, if the government as it plans to do, begins implementing it nation-wide. That are several protests all over on this sensitive issue. The Assam ‘Land Policy- 2019’, which mentions land allocation only for “indigenous peoples”, is another anti-people step. The definition of indigenous people has not been, so far, finalised (excluding toiling populations of Muslim/Hindu and Bengali origin). Without this definition in place, the ‘Land Policy- 2019’ has been repeatedly made mention of the fact that the ownership of land will be exclusively reserved for the indigenous people; again a blatant violation of the Constitution.

Freedom of Religion or Belief, is on the back foot. The latest data with intelligence agencies shows a rise in communal incidents in nine states, led by Uttar Pradesh which has witnessed 457 communal incidents this year, between January and October. There were almost five hundred reported attacks on Christians in various parts of the country. In Gujarat, police are knocking at the doors of Churches to extract details from Baptism and Marriage registers. The fundamentalists thrive on ‘hate speech’. ‘Lynching’ has become the new normal as right-wing forces are ready to kill anyone not like them and without any provocation! The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister tries to introduce the ‘English medium’ in Government-run schools; the votaries of Hindutva see it as a ‘ploy to convert people to Christianity!’

The rights of children are violated with impunity! Millions of children still labour in hazardous occupations in several parts of the country; besides being denied their right to education, they are also deprived of their childhood. Innumerable women and children are trapped in the web of human trafficking. The Government of India’s stand on the Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution from Myanmar – besides violating the rights of refugees, goes totally against the basic spirit of compassion and hospitality. Millions are still displaced by mega –projects as we see in the Narmada Dam area. Powerful vested interests continue to destroy the environment and displace thousands of poor people everywhere.  The LGBT community is still looked down upon and treated very unjustly in India.

In mid-October, when the Global Hunger Index (GHI) was released, India was placed at an abysmal 102 out of the 117 countries ranked. The annual index is designed to measure and track hunger at the global, national and regional levels and to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger. India is now ranked below Pakistan (94), Bangladesh (88) and Sri Lanka (66) among South Asian nations. According to the report prepared by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, India is among the 45 countries that have serious levels of hunger. "In India, just 9.6 per cent of all children between six to 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet. As of 2015-2016, 90 per cent of Indian households used an improved drinking water source while 39 per cent of households had no sanitation facilities (IIPS and ICF 2017)," said the report.

The economy is in shambles; ‘demonetisation’ has had an extremely negative impact on the common person (in a new book the former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam refers to it as “a massive, draconian monetary shock”). Banks have gone bust and many have lost their hard-earned savings; corruption has been totally institutionalised by the Government and their ilk. The poor and the vulnerable find it impossible to make both ends meet due to the escalation of prices on essential commodities. Unemployment in the country has reached an all-time high! Industries are closing down rendering thousands jobless overnight! Farmers continue to commit suicide. Even the ‘humble onion’ which is (with the chilly) indispensable to the poor has sky-rocketed to more than Rs. 100/- a kilo! There is a growing gap between the rich and poor! Those who are rich continue profiteering at the expense of the poor!

The country is being dragged into unmitigated disaster by the Government and its unholy nexus with small group of anti-national forces consisting of fundamentalists, fascists, fanatics and other fringe elements! These are the people who legitimise the role of ‘Godse’ – the man who murdered Mahatma Gandhi! They have abdicated their role and responsibility to protect and promote the rights guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution: the right to life and liberty; to dignity and equality; to freedom of speech and expression; to freedom to preach, practise and propagate one’s religion; the right to livelihood, to eat, to dress and to see and to read what one chooses to; and all the other fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens. The Government no longer cares about the right to information, the right to food, the right to a clean environment and to safe drinking water. Human rights in India are systematically being demolished!

The ‘Human Rights Watch ‘Annual Report 2018 is relevant today as  it succinctly states, “Vigilante violence aimed at religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government—often carried out by groups claiming to support the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—became an increasing threat in India in 2017. The government failed to promptly or credibly investigate the attacks, while many senior BJP leaders publicly promoted Hindu supremacy and ultra-nationalism, which encouraged further violence. Dissent was labelled anti-national, and activists, journalists, and academics were targeted for their views, chilling free expression. Foreign funding regulations were used to target nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) critical of government actions or policies. Lack of accountability for past abuses committed by security forces persisted even as there were new allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings, including in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Jammu and Kashmir”.

In a hard –hitting article  entitled ‘ Blood and Soil in Narendra Modi’s India’  in the prestigious  ‘The New Yorker’ ( 9  December 2019 issue) the author Dexter Filkins writes, “a feeling of despair has settled in among many Indians who remain committed to the secular, inclusive vision of the country’s founders. “Gandhi and Nehru were great, historic figures, but I think they were an aberration,” Prasad, the former Outlook editor, told me. “It’s very different now. The institutions have crumbled—universities, investigative agencies, the courts, the media, the administrative agencies, public services. And I think there is no rational answer for what has happened, except that we pretended to be what we were for fifty, sixty years. But we are now reverting to what we always wanted to be, which is to pummel minorities, to push them into a corner, to show them their places, to conquer Kashmir, to ruin the media, and to make corporations servants of the state. And all of this under a heavy resurgence of Hinduism. India is becoming the country it has always wanted to be.”

There is a feeling of ‘déjà vu!’But the people of India must not give up: though human rights are being demolished, there is still strength and resilience in the people: an undying conviction that “we shall overcome”; that justice and truth will finally triumph! This 10 December, is a fitting day for all to commit themselves to and ensure “human rights for all and for always!!!”

*(Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ, is a human rights & peace activist/writer.  Contact:[email protected])

Demolishing Human Rights in India

Human Right day
Image credits: Shutterstock 


This past year from December 2018, had two significant 70th anniversaries: first, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948) and then, of the promulgation of the Constitution of India (November 26, 2019). It is quite certain that the makers of the Indian Constitution took inspiration from the UDHR. Strangely enough, as if on cue, everything possible is done by the powers that control the destiny of the nation, to demolish human rights and the values enshrined in the Constitution! There is perhaps not a day in the recent past, when the country has not witnessed  violations of human rights be it the gang rape and murder of an innocent woman, the lynching of a Muslim and for that matter, a carefully-orchestrated  and manipulative initiative to render people , ‘stateless!’

As the world observes the 71st Human Rights Day on December 10, there is perhaps just one conclusion that emerges: for the vast majority of the people of India, where human rights are concerned, it has been a truly horrendous year! Ever since the BJP-led NDA Government seized the reins of power in May 2014, there has been a steady deterioration, violation and now the demolition of human rights in the country. In the ‘Human Development Index 2018’, India reached an all –time low of 130 out of 189 countries. In several other objective and unbiased international analysis and studies, India has touched, on all parameters, abysmal depths.

India has acquired the awful and dubious distinction of being regarded as the ‘rape capital’ of the world! In a society which has consistently treated women as second class citizens, the discrimination that women have been subjected to, was accepted in several quarters as ‘normal’. Ever since, the Gujarat carnage of 2002, raping and murdering women, has been occurring with a frightening regularity. The recent gang-rape in Hyderabad sent shock waves through the nation. The chilling aspect of these sordid acts, is that if you are rich and powerful you can get away with rape and molesting women. You can even become a law maker! In May 2019, the  Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) released  a report according to which, nearly half of the newly elected Lok Sabha members have criminal charges against them, a 26% increase as compared to 2014 and a 44% increase when compared to 2009. Out of the 539 winners analysed in Lok Sabha 2019, 233 MPs or43% have declared criminal cases against themselves. After analysing data of state Assemblies and Lok Sabha, ADR found that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the most number of MPs/MLAs with cases of crimes against women. About 30% of them face very serious charges, like those related to rape and other crimes against women, murder, kidnapping.

Then are the ‘fake encounter’ killings! Four alleged rapists were arrested in the aftermath the Hyderabad gang-rape and murder; a couple of days’ later, all four of them were murdered in cold blood! The ‘justification’ of this act hardly finds any takers! A macabre ‘fairy tale’ which one cannot fool a five-year old kid with. All this, is a painful reminder of the ‘fake encounters’ in Gujarat; of how one of the  powerful men of this country was responsible for it and of the ‘untimely’ and ‘unnatural’ death of Justice Loya who refused to be compromised or bought up. Strangely enough in the case of the rapes and murder of women, if the accused are poor then they are ‘done away with’; however, if the accused are rich and powerful then the victim or the witnesses are done away with, as we have seen in the Unnao case!

On December 6, the nation remembered the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid. This year that ‘black day’ was shades darker for many! The recent Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya took a strong stand against the demolition; but then its decision to give the ‘disputed’ land to the majority community has rankled many. Sections of Muslims are already planning to file a review petition. Writing in ‘The Wire’ (9 November 2019), well-known writer and political analyst Siddharth Varadarajan says, “The court acknowledged the manner in which Ram idols were planted in the mosque was illegal and that the mosque’s demolition in 1992 was “an egregious violation of the rule of law”. Yet, the forces responsible for the demolition now find themselves in legal possession of the land. The site will be managed by a trust that the government will now set up. And the government and ruling party have in their ranks individuals who have actually been charge sheeted for conspiring to demolish the mosque”.

For more than 125 days now Kashmir has been in a state of siege! On August 5, the State was overrun in a swift, unethical and undemocratic way! In a patently unconstitutional and anti-people act, the BJP-led NDA Government abrogated Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution. The draconian and secretive manner in which the Government pushed a sensitive bill, steam-rolling all opposition, without consulting Parliament, without taking the people of Kashmir into confidence, is clear betrayal of the values embedded in the hearts and minds of most Indians. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) states, “The fact that hardly any information is currently coming out from the region is of great concern.” The Spokesperson pointed to the UNHRC’s July 8 report on the human rights conditions in Kashmir, which documented how authorities in India have “repeatedly blocked telecommunications networks to muzzle dissent, used arbitrary detention to punish political dissidents and employed excessive force when dealing with protestors leading to extrajudicial killings and serious injuries;” adding that the latest restrictions “will exacerbate the human rights situation in the region.”

Freedom of speech and expression in the country has almost become a ‘reality of the past’. In April 2019, when the World Press Freedom Index was released, India had fallen to a miserable 140 out of 180 countries. Media has been compromised, bought up, made to toe the line! This is obvious when one reads the headlines of most national dailies or listens to the electronic media! The Government now blatantly snoops into computers, taps telephones and monitors WhatsApp messages; they have also begun controlling other forms of social media.  The recent exposure that at the behest of the Government, an Israeli firm hacked into the WhatsApp messages of human rights activists, lawyers, academics, political opponents – has made it clear that this regime will destroy even the right to privacy in order to realise their anti-Constitutional agenda.

It has also been bad for human rights defenders. One hears about threats, coercion, intimidation, arrests, foisting of false cases and even death for all those who take a stand for human rights, justice and peace. Some months ago, five well known human rights activists Sudha Bharadwaj (Faridabad), Arun Ferreira (Thane), Vernon Gonsalves (Mumbai), Gautam Navlakha (Delhi) and writer P Varavara Rao (Hyderabad) were arrested on absolutely fictitious charges( most of them are still languishing in jail after repeated denial of bail); eighty - year old Jesuit Stan Swamy was searched ,hounded and his meagre personal belongings attached.  There are several others who have to bear the brunt of a very repressive political system. The ‘sedition law’ is both archaic and draconian and is still being used by the ‘powers’ to quell dissent and even to muzzle citizens when they ask questions! The amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) has now become an instrument to terrorise the citizens.

The National Register of Citizenship (NRC) is downright negation of the human rights of a citizen. Initiated in Assam, it has already ‘declared’ almost two million people stateless. The NRC together with the ‘Citizenship Amendment Bill’, assuring citizenship to all undocumented persons except those of Muslim faith, risks tearing the country apart, reopening the wounds of partition, and ultimately destroying the secular and democratic tenets of the Constitution. A few days ago campaigning in Jharkhand, the Home Minister Amit Shah said that 2024 is the deadline for completing the National Register of Citizenship across the country. “This is an extremely dangerous step and the country today stands at the brink of catastrophic human suffering and injustice, if the government as it plans to do, begins implementing it nation-wide. That are several protests all over on this sensitive issue. The Assam ‘Land Policy- 2019’, which mentions land allocation only for “indigenous peoples”, is another anti-people step. The definition of indigenous people has not been, so far, finalised (excluding toiling populations of Muslim/Hindu and Bengali origin). Without this definition in place, the ‘Land Policy- 2019’ has been repeatedly made mention of the fact that the ownership of land will be exclusively reserved for the indigenous people; again a blatant violation of the Constitution.

Freedom of Religion or Belief, is on the back foot. The latest data with intelligence agencies shows a rise in communal incidents in nine states, led by Uttar Pradesh which has witnessed 457 communal incidents this year, between January and October. There were almost five hundred reported attacks on Christians in various parts of the country. In Gujarat, police are knocking at the doors of Churches to extract details from Baptism and Marriage registers. The fundamentalists thrive on ‘hate speech’. ‘Lynching’ has become the new normal as right-wing forces are ready to kill anyone not like them and without any provocation! The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister tries to introduce the ‘English medium’ in Government-run schools; the votaries of Hindutva see it as a ‘ploy to convert people to Christianity!’

The rights of children are violated with impunity! Millions of children still labour in hazardous occupations in several parts of the country; besides being denied their right to education, they are also deprived of their childhood. Innumerable women and children are trapped in the web of human trafficking. The Government of India’s stand on the Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution from Myanmar – besides violating the rights of refugees, goes totally against the basic spirit of compassion and hospitality. Millions are still displaced by mega –projects as we see in the Narmada Dam area. Powerful vested interests continue to destroy the environment and displace thousands of poor people everywhere.  The LGBT community is still looked down upon and treated very unjustly in India.

In mid-October, when the Global Hunger Index (GHI) was released, India was placed at an abysmal 102 out of the 117 countries ranked. The annual index is designed to measure and track hunger at the global, national and regional levels and to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger. India is now ranked below Pakistan (94), Bangladesh (88) and Sri Lanka (66) among South Asian nations. According to the report prepared by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, India is among the 45 countries that have serious levels of hunger. "In India, just 9.6 per cent of all children between six to 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet. As of 2015-2016, 90 per cent of Indian households used an improved drinking water source while 39 per cent of households had no sanitation facilities (IIPS and ICF 2017)," said the report.

The economy is in shambles; ‘demonetisation’ has had an extremely negative impact on the common person (in a new book the former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam refers to it as “a massive, draconian monetary shock”). Banks have gone bust and many have lost their hard-earned savings; corruption has been totally institutionalised by the Government and their ilk. The poor and the vulnerable find it impossible to make both ends meet due to the escalation of prices on essential commodities. Unemployment in the country has reached an all-time high! Industries are closing down rendering thousands jobless overnight! Farmers continue to commit suicide. Even the ‘humble onion’ which is (with the chilly) indispensable to the poor has sky-rocketed to more than Rs. 100/- a kilo! There is a growing gap between the rich and poor! Those who are rich continue profiteering at the expense of the poor!

The country is being dragged into unmitigated disaster by the Government and its unholy nexus with small group of anti-national forces consisting of fundamentalists, fascists, fanatics and other fringe elements! These are the people who legitimise the role of ‘Godse’ – the man who murdered Mahatma Gandhi! They have abdicated their role and responsibility to protect and promote the rights guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution: the right to life and liberty; to dignity and equality; to freedom of speech and expression; to freedom to preach, practise and propagate one’s religion; the right to livelihood, to eat, to dress and to see and to read what one chooses to; and all the other fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens. The Government no longer cares about the right to information, the right to food, the right to a clean environment and to safe drinking water. Human rights in India are systematically being demolished!

The ‘Human Rights Watch ‘Annual Report 2018 is relevant today as  it succinctly states, “Vigilante violence aimed at religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government—often carried out by groups claiming to support the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—became an increasing threat in India in 2017. The government failed to promptly or credibly investigate the attacks, while many senior BJP leaders publicly promoted Hindu supremacy and ultra-nationalism, which encouraged further violence. Dissent was labelled anti-national, and activists, journalists, and academics were targeted for their views, chilling free expression. Foreign funding regulations were used to target nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) critical of government actions or policies. Lack of accountability for past abuses committed by security forces persisted even as there were new allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings, including in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Jammu and Kashmir”.

In a hard –hitting article  entitled ‘ Blood and Soil in Narendra Modi’s India’  in the prestigious  ‘The New Yorker’ ( 9  December 2019 issue) the author Dexter Filkins writes, “a feeling of despair has settled in among many Indians who remain committed to the secular, inclusive vision of the country’s founders. “Gandhi and Nehru were great, historic figures, but I think they were an aberration,” Prasad, the former Outlook editor, told me. “It’s very different now. The institutions have crumbled—universities, investigative agencies, the courts, the media, the administrative agencies, public services. And I think there is no rational answer for what has happened, except that we pretended to be what we were for fifty, sixty years. But we are now reverting to what we always wanted to be, which is to pummel minorities, to push them into a corner, to show them their places, to conquer Kashmir, to ruin the media, and to make corporations servants of the state. And all of this under a heavy resurgence of Hinduism. India is becoming the country it has always wanted to be.”

There is a feeling of ‘déjà vu!’But the people of India must not give up: though human rights are being demolished, there is still strength and resilience in the people: an undying conviction that “we shall overcome”; that justice and truth will finally triumph! This 10 December, is a fitting day for all to commit themselves to and ensure “human rights for all and for always!!!”

*(Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ, is a human rights & peace activist/writer.  Contact:[email protected])

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