After the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or the CAB was cleared by the Union Cabinet under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with minor riders that will keep some tribal areas out of its purview, its enactment as a law after a swift passage in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament, is just a matter of time. It’s also a matter of the time for the country to see which all parliamentary parties align with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its vicious agenda of stripping a large number of people off their citizenship rights by either supporting the CAB in the Rajya Sabha or abstaining from voting. In both cases, the identities of these parties will be established as the allies of Hindutva fascism.
The CAB has been the most controversial law in modern India not only because it supplements the Modi regime’s plan to conduct a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise following the Assam model, which failed and caused ignominy for the BJP and Home Minister Amit Shah, after spending Rs 15 billion from the public exchequer, but because it actually gives immense power to the Union government to decide on the fate of millions of poor Indian people who will lose citizenship. The CAB is controversial as it contravenes not just the Indian Constitution but also international norms related to discrimination on the basis of religion. Though many political parties oppose the CAB, however, the lack of a holistic vision and the reluctance to take an alternative standpoint by these parties allowed a greater room for the BJP to manoeuvre.
Since his first tenure that started in 2014, Modi has been the master narrative-setter in Indian politics. Whatever narrative Modi and his coterie would set for the Indian polity, his sycophants will amplify it using a plethora of communication and media tools, while the opposition will make circles around the narrative and fall in the trap laid by for them. A shrewd Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — the parental body of the BJP and the ideological master of the government — will then utilise the opposition’s moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy once it’s entrapped.
In this article, its shown how the CAB is actually designed to deceive the Hindus and other non-Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to make them believe that the Modi regime will give them Indian citizenship. It was found in the Joint Parliamentary Committee’s hearing that only 37,000 people will gain citizenship under the CAB, the rest will have the bait of citizenship dangled before them and it will make them run behind the BJP in the hope of gaining respite. As a majority of refugees who came from these countries are non-Muslims, it’s they and those large number of poor Hindus, who can’t produce adequate number of documents to prove their identity, will suffer the most under the NRC and the CAB. Yet, the Modi regime’s narrative that the CAB is going to help Hindus isn’t combatted by the mainstream opposition.
Though it’s extremely important that India house the refugees who fled their home countries due to religious persecution, especially the non-Muslims who suffer bigotry in the neighbouring countries, it’s imperative to comprehend that the CAB has no respite for such refugees, except that vis-a-vis the 2003 CAB, this CAB can provide them with a respite from being considered as illegal immigrants if only they can prove that they fled their home countries in fear of religious persecution and reached India before the cut-off date of December 2014. To prove that one has to admit that they aren’t Indian citizen but a citizen of any of these countries and that they travelled to India to escape persecution at their home countries. Each such claim needs verification from the R&AW (external intelligence wing) and the Intelligence Bureau (internal intelligence wing), which, if we realistically calculate, will take hundreds of years.
The CAB and the NRC are two major weapons for the BJP and Modi to realise the RSS’s goal of establishing the Hindu Rashtra, conceived by the likes of MS Golwalkar and VD Savarkar, on one hand, and, on the other, to discombobulate the opposition and the people using a plethora of propaganda tools. Therefore, the entire parliamentary opposition is biting the sugar-coated venomous pill provided by the Modi regime and dancing according to the tune. While Hindutva fascist Shiv Sena, which recently severed ties with the BJP in Maharashtra, will wholeheartedly support the BJP in implementing the NRC all over India and in enacting the CAB, followed by other long-term allies like the Janata Dal (United), the Asom Gana Parishad, Biju Janata Dal, Shiromani Akali Dal and other National Democratic Alliance members, the Congress party, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagam, the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti, etc, haven’t disclosed their cards yet. Whether they will support the BJP, oppose the CAB or walk out to help the BJP pass will be known soon.
Can the BJP manage to sweep the Rajya Sabha where it doesn’t have a clear majority? For the CAB, it seems a deal has been reached between Shah and other politicians, barring a few, which will let to massive support for the CAB when it’s presented in the Rajya Sabha with the amendments. There is a high possibility that the Congress party, the TMC and others will walk-out of the house, showing sham protest but helping the BJP to have the CAB passed. Such a walkout, after betraying the Muslims earlier during the Ayodhya verdict pronounced last month, will actually cast the Congress party, the TMC and other such so-called anti-BJP parties to the oblivion of secularism.
These parties have continuously betrayed the poor people, the minority communities and the exploited sections. Knowing well that the NRC and the CAB will destroy the Indian people, no political party is giving a clarion call to boycott the NRC to thwart the CAB and all subsequent such anti-people measures. No political party is taking the initiative to educate the people about the nitty-gritty of these laws and why they are harmful to India. Rather than uniting the people and rallying them against these bills, most of the opposition parties, for the sake of their vote bank and caste-class compulsions, have joined hands with the BJP and are legitimising the grotesque communal agenda.
Who will be responsible for the woes of the majority of poor and downtrodden masses, especially the Muslims, who will be disenfranchised through the NRC and the CAB? Will the BJP be the sole responsible party or the opposition parties are culprits too? This will be known when the so-called opposition will shed their inhibitions and either vote for the CAB or boycott the Rajya Sabha during the passage of the CAB. With their one decision, millions will be rendered stateless, homeless and lifeless, causing utmost chaos and despair. This situation is what India can’t afford today, and therefore, it needs resistance from the people’s democratic and progressive forces outside the parliament. Unless a bigger anti-CAB and anti-NRC movement could be built outside the parliament, there can be no real respite and thwarting of the evil designs of the Hindutva fascist Modi regime and the RSS.