The ongoing protests across the country—majority of which are peaceful—couldn’t find the space in the news channels’ propaganda and TRP-hungry domain. There are certain things to understand from this.
All the people who intend to protest peacefully must be well aware by now how deep the bigotry has been entrenched in the soul of this nation. Today, majority of people who are opposing (even peaceful protests), enjoy all sorts of privileges, sitting at home in their cozy blankets; they are saying that all those who are hitting the streets are ‘propagating violence’. They are saying there is nothing to fear about the CAA or NRC, individually, as well as in a combined form.
I request all these intellectual souls to just ask the poor people around you: can they provide the documents to prove their nationality? If yes, that is great, but if not, can they provide documents from which states they are residents then, as mentioned in the Citizenship Amendment Act? If that does not move you, I have nothing more to say to you, and neither I expect anything from you.
As per the CAA and I quote, “Provided that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act.”
Now, I would like to bring to your attention the fact that all those poor people who never attended schools or ever owned a piece of land might not be able to prove their nationality. They are residents of this country, Indian nationals, but they will definitely fail to provide the proof. If and only if they belong to the above-mentioned six religious communities, they have hope (if they can prove they are the persecuted minorities). And those from the Muslim community might not even get that exception.
But why being a Muslim or non-Muslim is secondary is because at no cost Indian nationals will be able to prove that they are immigrants from these three countries. Thus, we need to unite and spread this information as much we can. You and I, the ‘keyboard warriors’, might not be affected much, but those who are poor and illiterate will find it endlessly troublesome to prove that they are the legal citizens of this country.
More importantly, the issue that I find immensely threatening is the mindset that many of our compatriots have reduced to. On the 15th of December, the UP Police broke into the campus of Aligarh Muslim University where students were protesting over the CAA-NRC, and a similar attack took place in Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia. Usually, the Police uses water-canon to disperse the mob/protestors, but, here, instead of following the procedure police brutally barged in and used tear gas and lathi-charged the students.
Moreover, due to internet breakdown, the news of AMU wasn’t easily publishable to the outside world. After a couple of days, we came to know that one of the student’s hand was amputated by the “fireworks” police used. I was dejected by this news and it disheartened me to an exponential amount. This news dejected me, and it disheartened me to an exponential amount. To tell the folks what fascism looks like and how the State is using all its might to suppress the voice of opposition, one of my friends and I uploaded this news on Instagram, to which, a schoolmate replied: “Why isn’t he dead yet?”.
His response astounded me. It is a question we all need to ask ourselves, how come we started hating a particular community so much that we are rooting for their unjustifiable death? It is high time for us to revisit our fundamentals and clear our vision where we rejoiced in everyone around us—because we were not among the lot that discriminates people on the basis of religion or race or region.
All of us who are on this side, opposing the CAA and NRC, need to unite. It is our unity that the State is afraid of, that’s why we see inadequate civil posts in our WhatsApp groups which target a particular community for expressing their discontent on the State’s decision. Look out for the people near you and share your views about the Secular fabric of India, organize yourselves and show your opposition to the State by writing to the government and by peacefully protesting against their fascist decisions.
At any cost, please do not incite violence, neither support it as it will reduce our cause and will bring us back to square one. Unite, organize, and protest against fascism. We cannot let our country be reduced to a fascist dictatorship. We cannot let the government pass further bills that are unconstitutional and discredit Article 14 of our constitution.
Please read about the CAA and NRC and educate people around you about it. Spread the word that it is not only the poor Muslims who are at the centre of all the sufferings but all those who will not be able to provide their documents to prove their citizenship, irrespective of their religion.
Let’s Unite, Organize, and Agitate.