Prof. M. K. Bhat
The protests in the aftermath of CAA were politically motivated and raised many eyebrows about the functioning of our opposition parties. Dissension is the essence of any democracy but dissension based on wrong facts, creating fear to encash minority votes , rumors, wrong perception or anti national rhetoric is clumsy. Strong opposition on principle issues strengthens democracy but when it is opportunistic in nature, it adds to the strength of the ruling elite and weakens the opposition after some time.
Indian political parties seem to have outsourced their opposition role to a selected group, who sees only wrong in the doings of the present regime. They in their zeal to oppose Modi have started to oppose even India and want Azadi from everything .They coined terms like intolerance, Majoritarianism, Award wapsi, staged candle marches, Dharnas, road side hooliganism, and take up cases selectively. They ascertain the severity of a rape case after knowing the religion of a victim. They have different yardsticks for different people. when kashmiri Pandits were told to leave their home behind, they had no time to agitate, When Sikhs were killed on the roads of Delhi they saw no intolerance or when a doctor was gang raped and killed in Hyderabad they felt no need of a candle march or dharna…. the list is endless. They see majoritarianism in every step of the present regime as if it is a sin to talk about the majority of the country. Which democratic country does not follow the will of the majority is a big question for all such people to ponder upon. They hardly hesitate to demean India even in foreign lands. This gang develops narrative for their political masters and gives vindictive statements about threat to minorities/lower castes /farmers etc without any concrete understanding of the issues. They try to create sensation even if it hurts others and creates crater in the society. Their intolerance in India gets nullified when one ascertains that India is the only country where majority waited for more than hundred years to get the sanctum sanctorium of their Lord through court .Is there any example in the world of this sort, perhaps not?
This pseudo secular front line brigade of opposition parties in India sheds crocodile tears for minority especially Muslims but never questions their masters about the pathetic condition of Muslims during non BJP rule. Why they failed to uplift this minority in the last fifty years of their rule? They have not turned backward after 2014 rather it goes to the credit of BJP that it has not come out with any policy with sectarian approach.
These fringe elements supported by political parties got a golden chance to exploit innocents by spreading rumors about CAA. They spread lies among Muslims regarding identity proof to prove their citizenship and tried to project their political masters as the guardians of minorities in India. Fear politics is nothing new and has been used by secular parties in last seventy years for their vote bank. The fact is that CAA has nothing to do with the citizens of the country but the irony is that educated also fell into their trap easily. The educated university goers did not read the act, instead took stones in their hands to fight with the police.
The matter of the fact is that CAA opens path of citizenship for the persecuted minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. These are Muslim majority countries so the law has come to the rescue of minorities from these countries that lived under harsh circumstances. The Muslim majority of these countries can seek refuge in India as per the existing rules of migration. CAA is applicable for only those who took refuge in India before 2014. It in other words means that these refugees are already in India. It simply reduced the requirement of residence from 11 years to 6 years. The so called secularists should have raised their voices against the ill treatment of minorities in these countries instead they agitate against the rehabilitation of those for whom we have moral obligation since 1947.
It is our duty to protect these persecuted minorities, because they never wanted partition of the country rather it was thrust on them. Minorities stood at 23% in 1947 in Pakistan and today they are less than 3% in Pakistan and in Bangladesh erstwhile East Pakistan they stand at 9%.The horrific conditions like kidnapping, conversion, forced marriages and murders have become their fate.
In 1950, Prime Minister J.L. Nehru of India and Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan of Pakistan agreed to take care of their respective minorities. India kept its word but Pakistan declared itself a Muslim country. The atrocities on minorities in Pakistan are in public domain but current agitators never felt for the fate of these minorities perhaps because majority of them are Hindu. They speak for illegal migrants of Bangladesh or Rohingyas, but never ever raise voice against foreign countries atrocities towards Indians.
The political parties and their leaders like Amantullah Khan in Delhi, Mamta Banerjee in west Bengal, Asaduddin owaisi in Hyderabad, along with congress, and other political parties resorted to open instigation of people on religious lines. Mamta Banerjee even wanted UN intervention. Public property worth millions was destroyed/burned, wild rumors were spread with an eye on the vote bank. Threat perception was created in Muslims as if their citizenship was being cancelled and now some of them including congress want no action against those who damaged public property.
Why damage to public property should not be charged from those who resorted to hooliganism? Why those stoning from inside the university on Delhi police should not be brought to book? Why the university failed to stop students from pelting stones on police and how outsiders came into the university? Those who shoot on police cannot be garlanded for their behavior. Why slogans like Pakistan Zindabad were raised and the police officer who reacted on such slogans is being targeted? The instant answer for such slogans would have been more or less same from any official on duty. It is beyond any doubt that police applied maximum restraint in this holocaust despite extreme provocation from certain quarters.
Certain chief ministers are befooling masses by showing their resistance against CAA and even announced not to apply it in their respective states. Citizenship is a Union Government subject and states have no role in determining the legal framework. Are they sowing the seeds of separation from the federal set up through these illegal utterings?
The divisive agenda of opposition got exposed in these protests. Their love for illegal refugees from Bangladesh and Rohingya’s is no more hidden from an average Indian. India cannot be a place of refuge for people of the world. It may be politically correct for some but it is grossly incorrect for the country.
It is our moral duty to accommodate people left behind in1947, they have nowhere to go. We can’t afford to leave this persecuted group of 30 to 40 thousand to fend for themselves in their harsh times for no fault of theirs.
Opposition shall deal with constructive criticism of the government on logical grounds rather than adopting its divisive political agendas for quick returns.
(The author is Director (M.A.I.M.S) Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi.)
Prof. M. K. Bhat