I wrote this dialogue between a liberal and a Modi Bhakt covering all the arguments for and against CAA NRC. We all have read many academic debates and Op Eds and artistic and graphical explanations on the issue of CAA and NRC. Let’s try something different. Here I am presenting in layman’s language how this issue is being debated by those supporting CAA mostly the people we call Bhakts. What kind of statement they make and how to engage with them or anybody on this issue.
We have two individuals P – Protester and S – Supporter talking on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
P: Citizenship Amendment Act is unconstitutional because it is against the Fundamental Right of Equality under Art 14 of Constitution, which guarantees equality to all religion.
S: But reasonable classification is allowed. Many things like SC, ST quota is given using ‘reasonable classification’.
P: Agree. Reasonable Classification is allowed but the language of CAA shows it is not reasonable classification but unreasonable, illogical, arbitrary classification.
S: How? Please explain.
P: Ok so the law has three elements. 1/Islamic countries 2/Minorities 3/Persecution. How are these chosen? What is the logic behind this classification? Firstly, Why only 3 countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh?
S: They chose Islamic countries around India.
P: Then why not Maldives?
S: No, Islamic countries which share border with India.
P: Even then why not Maldives? It is an island country with a chosen religion Islam and shares border waters with India. And how come Afghanistan, it does not share border with India.
S: It does, PoK shares border with Afghanistan and PoK is part of India.
P: Ok that is far fetched legally debatable but still if we agree, there are other discrepancies remain. Give one common logic behind all 3 chosen country.
S: Ok, maybe countries which persecute their minorities.
P: Then why not China (persecute Uighur) and Myanmar (persecute Rohingyas)? Why not Sri Lanka, Tamil Hindus are persecuted there.
S: Because Sri Lanka or China are not Islamic country, we are only considering 3 Islamic countries..
P: See that is arbitrary classification. Are we trying to protect all Hindus or only those Hindus who are persecuted in Muslim countries? Victim is a victim. Does the status of victim change as per which country is doing the persecution?
S: Ok. Maybe countries which are products of Partition. Because partition was based upon religion.
P: Then how come Afghanistan? It was not born of partition.
S: (The supporter losing the argument now and looking nervous) Look, Hindus are suffering for many years, giving them shelter is India’s duty, what is your problem if those suffering are getting protection? Don’t you understand their pain?
P: Nobody is stopping India from giving shelter to Hindus from these 3 nations. Only objection is to specifically mention all religions except Muslims. Giving shelter to persecuted people is a very noble task. But giving it only to your chosen community, is not noble and discriminatory. There is no logical explanation to why only some religion and only 3 countries? Why not all persecuted people from all neighbouring countries?
S: Ah Umm err.
P: Secondly, why the law specifically mention Hindus and few others and exclude Muslims from these 3 countries when it is a matter of public record that sub sects of Islam within these countries are also persecuted and so are atheists, homosexuals etc.
S: Because India is natural land of Hindus.
P: It is against our Constitution to say that. India is natural land of people of all faith, not just Hindus because Constitution did not declare a state religion, therefore we cannot make this assertion. It is a veiled attempt to turn India Hindu Rashtra, which is what we are objecting to.
S: If Hindus will not come here then where will they go? Muslims have 50 countries to go to, Hindus have only one.
P: Who said that? Hindus can go to any country they like, no country in the world says Hindus are not welcome. In fact as per 2017 Migration Report (https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/international-migration-report-2017.html ) India is no.1 migrants sending country, it must also mean that most of them are Hindus. So what does it mean Hindus have nowhere to go?
S: (The supporter trying to change the subject now) When CAA does not apply to Indian citizens then what is the problem? All Indian citizens are safe, nothing to worry.
P: But who is a citizen? Today nobody is sure who is citizen unless nationwide NRC happens. We have to show legacy document because Home Ministry said Passport, PAN, Aadhar etc are not proof of citizenship.
S: Genuine Indians will have documents, they need not worry, only infiltrators have to worry.
P: Genuine Indians should worry. We have already seen in case of Assam that NRC process is totally flawed. Poor people who live in villages, affected by floods and mass displacement, where will they get legacy document? Even BJP has rejected the results of Assam NRC because they feel many genuine Indians, even Hindus have been excluded. Nationwide NRC will have double the mistakes, millions of Indians will be declared illegals. But only the Muslims will suffer because even if you cant show document, if you are Hindus you can get citizenship as per CAA. This is the main problem.
S: See, NRC is still not announced. It is not going to happen immediately why fret over something that is not real yet.
P: It was announced but Govt is backtracking now. Should we not believe Amit Shah? He himself said it on the floor of Parliament that NRC will happen. He said it in April 2019 in a campaign too. We have seen the video. He also gave the chronology that first there will be CAB then NRC. There is no doubt that NRC will
happen and it would make millions of Indians illegal, but all faith will get protection under CAA except Muslims.
P: Thirdly, the law mentions identity instead of events or experience. Means, instead of saying ‘persecuted people’ it says ‘Hindus, Jain, Sikh etc” which means identity is enough and there is no need to prove persecution. It gives a blanket cover to Hindus etc from these 3 countries on the wrong assumption that all Hindus are persecuted and no Muslims are persecuted.
S: It is rather correct assumption. Pakistan population at the time of independence was much more but all their Hindus disappeared.
P: That statistics is incorrect. Even if it was true, Amit Shah should have submitted some valid research report to prove this in the Parliament, but he didn’t.
S: How can you doubt what Amit Shah said, just go to the refugee camps. How can you say there is no persecution of Hindus in Pak.
P: We are not saying there is no violence against Hindus. But incidences of violence and State sponsored persecution is different.
Persecution and refugee problem are global problems, many organizations including United Nations keep record, we know about Uighurs, Rohingyas but there is no documented history of massive Hindu persecution anywhere in world. Pakistan has Hindu Members of Parliament, how is it possible if there was State sponsored persecution?
Please read Faizan Mustafa’s Explainers in Indian Express which says that while both Pak and Bangladesh maybe Islamic nation but that doesn’t mean people of other faith are 2nd class citizens. Bangladesh’s Constitution in fact is secular.
Truth is migration is part of civilization, people of all faith from these countries have come to India for jobs and economic opportunity. But CAA assumes that all Hindus are victims and all Muslims are infiltrators. This blanket approach is unconstitutional.
S: (Trying to further deviate from the line of argument brings totally random things like) Have you even read the law, the cut off date is 31 December 2014?
P: So? What is that supposed to mean? We are concerned about the 1.3 billion of people already living in India whose citizenship is in question until we do NRC. These people are facing a situation where they might be called illegal just because they can’t show documents, but if Hindu can’t show documents govt can still give them citizenship. Muslims likely to face mass deportation, disenfranchisement, detention.
S: There will be no such thing, why can’t you trust govt wants good for all. Govt has nothing against the Muslim citizens.
P: Because since May 2014, BJP govt is trying to fulfil all RSS agendas one by one. One such agenda is to force Muslims to live as 2nd class citizens without giving voting rights. RSS’s Guru Golwalkar in his book ‘We Or Our Nationhood Defined’ (1939) on page no. 105-106 wrote:
“There are only two courses open to the foreign elements, either to merge themselves in the national race and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race…the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture…must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment-not even citizen’s rights.”
CAA + NRC Seem to be an attempt to fulfil this agenda.
S: (Lost the argument) You are antinational urban naxal.
Anybody can use the above script to make a small skit / film and distribute. Don’t worry about copyright, just use the script to explain the issue among your circles.