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Is Citizenship Amendment Act A New Form Of Class Oppression And Struggle?

Despite protests all across India, the Citizenship Amendment Bill received a green flag in the upper and lower house of the Parliament. The Bill will give protection to non-Muslim minorities who are facing persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Bill on the moral grounds of protecting minorities received assent from President Ram Nath Kovind and became a Constitutional Act (Act No. 47 of 2019). There is unrest among people of India about it being in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution; the Act, however, is not unconstitutional as it comes under a special provision of the Citizenship Act of 1955.

The Act talks about classification on the basis of intelligible differentiation and a rational purpose to be fulfilled. The biggest question is that who alone has the power to make intelligent differentiation? Are the members of Parliament alone capable of making such differentiation? Democracy paved its way as the answer that caused protests in various parts of the country. The answer delivered by the peaceful protests was not liked by the elected members of the Cabinet causing violence, bigotry and damage to the public property across India.

The makers of the Constitution gave the best years of their lives to ensure that the secular integrity of the country protects every person who is equally adding to the growth, development and functioning of this country—irrespective of their class, religion and language, unlike the present. The Constitution that Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly gifted to this nation had no such provision where a privileged class of right-wingers gets to decide what’s best in the interest of the nation and its people by raising communal stress. The upper-class Hindus have never failed to desiccate the country into different segments on the basis of caste among their own religion. Now, the matter has crossed the borders and has become inter-religious.

The population of India is a mixture of people who came to India from different parts of the world and with them brought a wide variety of cultures centuries ago. While many of them chose not to stay, a handful of them decided to make peace and settled as neighbours at ease for their nation. Through long term struggle and intimacy, those people gave birth to a culture which we celebrate as the largest democracy in the world. The culture provided no harm to anyone, and it brought wealth, peace and diversity to the country. Then why suddenly a group started to treat that culture as a threat to the masses and endeavoured to revoke a goon that was defeated through years of struggle?

This itself has the answer that the country is not heading towards the future, but it has decided to go back in the past and destroy which was once the glory of the nation. The mindset of people practicing such bigotry pertains to make them believe that vandalism left in the past will come back to harm the people of India. What makes them think that way? The upper Hindu caste alone has forgotten that people who practiced such vandalism didn’t stay in India for long, and they had no time to wait for years to do that again. The price of such a wrong mindset has left the whole country in a flabbergasted state where thousands of innocent lives are at stake, and no one knows who is the right person to share their horror.

Is it a green signal to revoking a new form of the caste system in the country where few communities will be targeted for oppression to maintain the position of the higher class? This Act gives a clear idea stating what religion and class are right and wrong for the ‘welfare’ of the country. The idea was to prevent minorities of other countries from persecution who are facing struggle on the grounds of class and religion. Aren’t we creating more class divisions by giving our assent to it?

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Is Citizenship Amendment Act is a signal to new form of class oppression and struggle?

 

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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