Outgoing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief and Union Home Minister Amit Shah started a symbolic “door-to-door” campaign to dispel so-called false notions about the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, or CAA, which, along with the notorious National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise, has become the bone of contention between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime and India’s 200-million-strong Muslim community. While Shah chose an upmarket, predominantly upper-caste Hindu and Sikh-dominated Lajpat Nagar for his campaign to counter the allegations against the CAA, he used the occasion to canvass for his party’s electoral prospects in the forthcoming Delhi assembly election, where the BJP faced a severe drubbing five years ago.
While the major allegations against the CAA are levelled by the Muslim community, which is explicitly excluded from the list of religions whose members can apply for citizenship if they have fled from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan due to religious persecution, Shah’s choice of a upper-caste Hindu and Sikh locality, inhabited by elites and upper-middle class, shows the panic he and his party face in confronting the Muslims, who have been peacefully demonstrating at Shaheen Bagh, a few kilometres away from Lajpat Nagar. It’s evident that Shah would never muster the courage to go and talk to Muslims, for whom he only uses his dirty tools, from police violence to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) thugs. Rather than meeting the Muslims of Shaheen Bagh, Shah’s ministry has ordered the Delhi Police to evict the protesters from the road so that on Tuesday, 7 January 2020, the home minister can travel to Noida taking that road, exhibiting his muscle power.
The adamant nature of RSS goons, who eventually end up becoming ministers like Modi or Shah, proves that there can’t be any rapprochement, any form of democratic discourse possible with their regime. It’s a hatred-driven system that the RSS and its affiliates like the BJP have nurtured so that they can create a self-sustaining communal polarisation model that will keep the majority community, their target group, in a state of paranoia and breed bigotry incessantly to ensure maximum persecution and marginalisation of the minority Muslims, who are specifically made the “other” in their own homeland since 1925. Shah’s uninhibited hate-mongering against the Muslims, against the people opposing the CAA and the NRC and his lambasting of prejudice allegations against the CAA through peddling sheer lies, along with Modi, may have shocked the liberals and those who still expect the Modi regime to show respect to constitutional norms, in reality, it’s a stark reminder that the transformation of India into a Hindutva fascist state, with a bigoted executive, police, military, justice system and a highly polarised society is complete. All that remains to be done by Modi and Shah is amending the Constitution to remove the word secularism and to promote India as a Hindu Rashtra — a theocratic dictatorship — with Modi as its first, unchallenged emperor.
When Shah was referring to the pain of the Sikh community in neighbouring Pakistan, especially after a bigot attacked the Nankhana Sahib Gurdwara, a holy shrine for Sikhs, with a gang of thugs, he claimed that the presence of the CAA assures the persecuted minorities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan that they have a place to find refuge. Yet, he didn’t state that the law is only for those who have entered India before 31 December 2014. Even if the Sikhs of Pakistan were to flee to India today, then they won’t get citizenship on the ground of religious persecution, but, through NRC, they may be thrown inside the dreaded detention centres to spend their entire lives there.
Shah may have told his feral supporters, drawn from upper-caste Hindu society using the bait of money and power that they must shout in high decibel to counter allegations against the CAA to rupture the eardrums of the opposition, he didn’t comprehend that if the people of the country, who outnumber the RSS-BJP and its state machinery, rise up against this incessant series of injustice and hatred as they have started, then neither Shah nor his master Modi can prevent the inevitable fall of their empire. The good news is that Shah is scared of the anti-CAA and NRC movements. The good news is that Modi and Shah have to lie to deceive people and use violence to bully students and protesters. This shows that eventually this Hindutva fascist regime is frightened of its nemesis — the democratic people. It’s now time to bring an end to it.