Is India Headed Towards An Emergency?

I fear for all my brothers and sisters in India.

People protesting against the new citizenship law in Seelampur, Delhi on Tuesday 17th Dcember. (Photo: Reuters)

Massive unemployment, student protests, police brutality, anti-constitutional laws, the arrest of opposition leaders, ban on communication and shooting down free speech – If this isn’t an emergency, then what is? But why are my brothers and sisters, who are not willing to leave the comfort of their homes and join the protest, unable to see what the rest of us see? Maybe the entire country is not facing all these problems and atrocities, but should we wait for the entire country to be carpet-bombed, with all these 7 plagues, for us to acknowledge what is happening? Hell, even U2’s Bono called it out at his Joshua Tree concert in Mumbai on Sunday.

The latest revelation is that the all-India National Registry of Citizens drive (NRC) has already begun – with the NPR or National Population Register. In short, the government is for the first time, going to collect Aadhar information during population census drive, which will be linked to the house number, and other information about the citizens, which will be collected; such as number of years of living in a particular place, reasons for moving to other places, distance between house and workplace, mother tongue and other languages known.

I had a Dejavu while reading this. In February this year, Trump’s USA implemented a similar policy, by which the US Census Bureau in the 2020 census will ask every American household to record which members of their family are US citizens. Just like our government’s justification, the US government’s justification for the question was that asking about citizenship will provide more information about who is in the United States, and more information is always good.

According to this article, “it was obvious to everyone that even a single citizenship question to their 2020 census could scare away millions of immigrants from filling out their mandatory surveys — throwing off the count of who’s present in America that’s used to determine congressional apportionment for the next decade, allocate federal funding for infrastructure, and serve as the basis for huge amounts of American research.”

In India, we will be facing a similar issue but on a much larger scale, and just like demonetisation, no one can comprehend the impact. So, why is team Modi adamant on this path that is leading the country into the centre of a black hole?

Granted, the mess was created by the UPA and India needed a conservation capitalist government to bring in reforms to improve the economy. But instead, we got a continuation of the failed UPA 2 policies on two deadly steroids: oligarchy and authoritarianism. Team Modi won’t get India out of it. They simply can’t because they have to give up power.

The only hope for any political solution is not the congress or any other opposition party. It is the BJP itself. If they don’t stand up against Modi and simply bend over like the Republican party in the US, Modi will have no choice but to declare an emergency in two or three months, in order to stay in power and suppress the public uprising. Is this what we as Indians want? Is this what India deserves?

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