Both CAA and NRC, in Isolation, Problematic; Together Dangerous

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If there was any hope from Prime Minister Modi’s speech at Ram Lila Maidan, it was belied by an address, which was full of rhetoric and mutually contradictory statements. Instead of allaying fears, he said things which further accentuated the doubts about the CAA. What he said in effect meant that while anyone other than Muslim coming from the three countries was a genuine victim of religious persecution in those countries, Muslims are nothing but intruders

DR JAVED JAMIL | Caravan Daily

Some commentators have been giving the impression that CAA alone is not bad and it becomes dangerous only in combination with NRC. The truth however is that they are bad in isolation as well; and when they combine they become dangerous. The supporters of the CAA are not tired of trying to convince Muslims that Indian Muslims have nothing to fear. They deliberately hide the fact that as soon as the non-Muslims other than Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh become citizens and Muslim from these countries become ghuspaithiyaas (intruders), not only Muslims from the three countries living in India for decades are thrown into detention camps and then out of the country, many Indian Muslims too may be subjected to severest kinds of interrogation. Some of them may factually face expulsion from the country.

Obviously, after CAA, this threat looms large only on the heads of Muslims while all the rest can live in peace irrespective of whether they are Indians or not. Those facing the greatest threat will of course be the labourers particularly working in the farms in other states. Their number may be as high as 30-40 lakhs.

Once NRC comes, this will bring trouble to all but in varying proportions. With a Demonetization like situation, people other than Muslims will face only physical exertion with the fear of standing in queues for hours with huge disturbances in their businesses and jobs. They will however be under no psychological pressure as their names alone will be enough to ensure them Indian citizenship.

Muslims, however, can again be subjected to severe interrogation, even intimidation, and at least a certain percentage of them particularly those from the poor background can find it hard to submit the required papers. Even if they ultimately get citizenship, the amount of physical, mental, social and economic pressure will have already taken a hard toll on them.

If there was any hope from Prime Minister’s Modi’s speech at Ram Lila Maidan on Sunday, it was belied by an address, which was full of rhetoric and mutually contradictory statements. Instead of allaying fears, he said things which further accentuated the doubts about the CAA. What he said in effect meant that while anyone other than Muslim coming from the three countries was a genuine victim of religious persecution in those countries, Muslims are nothing but intruders.

He tried to arouse the sympathy of Dalits saying that almost all these refugees were Dalits. This statement in itself contradicts the claim of “religious persecution” because if religious persecution had been the reason the majority could not have been Dalits. He forgets that if Muslims too entered India, they too faced one or the other kind of persecution and they entered India in the hope of leading a safer and better life. Why would they otherwise leave their own country and become refugees in India? How can one be so sympathetic to six communities born on Pakistani soil and so cruel to one religious community? How can these Muslims living in India for decades be thrown out just because of their faith? He tried to support the claim of the six communities by saying that as soon as they would cross the border they would approach some police personnel to grant him permission while the intruders (Muslims) did not do so. Obviously if Muslims did not take that route, it was because of the fear that the Indian police would not welcome them the way they welcomed Hindus and Sikhs.

He claimed that for now there has been absolutely no discussion on NRC contradicting his own Home Minister who has repeatedly talked about a pan-India NRC. His claim that no detention centres exist in India has also been dismissed by the experts.

The only solution is to either take back CAA or change it to include all irrespective of their identities and irrespective of the kinds of persecution or difficulties they faced in Pakistan, which forced them to come to India.

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