Reception of the Bill
Although there have been amendments to the bills since their enactment, they have failed to satisfy the demonstrators who emphasise an absolute repeal of the bills. The government has held 11 rounds of discussions with the protestors, the last being on 22nd January. It’s been over a month since the last talk round and the government seems to have moved on and over the demonstrations; they have stopped reacting.
They resort to discrediting the movement, namecalling the protestors( terrorists, anti-nationals, separatists, etc), cease internet in the demonstration site, dig pits and nails on the way to the demonstration, deploying huge defence forces around the demonstration area.
Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019
CAA gives eligibility for Indian citizenship to illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians( excluding Muslims) from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who reached India before 2015.
Reception of the Bill
Widespread protests and demonstrations expanding months were observed against it calling out the discrimination against Muslims. CAA ignores persecuted minorities from other regions such as Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar as well as Hazaras, Ahmadis, atheists, and political dissenters, who face persecution in Pakistan which was also a cause of scrutiny. This act is the first instance of religion being used as a criterion for Indian citizenship.
The government resorted to discrediting the protestors and labelling them anti-national and terrorists. It later slowed down the internet speed, finally turning a blind eye. Yes, similar pattern.
My dreamy head is hovering what the enactment of CAA with the other two proposed citizenship registration bills (NPR and NRC) would result into, but let’s keep it for another post and concentrate on the subject of how the government handles dissent.
Jammu And Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019
This bill has two parts-
Reorganization bill(2019) that splits the state into two union territories-one comprising Jammu and Kashmir, the other Ladakh( earlier a part of Jammu). While both of them will now be put directly under the Central Government of India, UT of J&K will have an electorate assembly, Ladakh will not.
Abrogation of Article 370- This article of the constitution accorded special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir- provision for its own constitution, autonomy over creating laws, and not enforcing many created by the central govt. This status is now scrapped.
Abolishing the status of “permanent residence” provided by Article 35 A of the Indian constitution-basically implies anyone outside Kashmir can now acquire immovable property, government employment, scholarships provided by the state.
Reception of the bill
Immediately after the law was passed, defence forces outlaying the number of civilians were deployed, curbs and curfews, horrific human rights abuses and imprisonment took place, internet ceased for over five months, along with a crackdown on local leaders and former ministers of state.
Many More On Streets
The last couple of years has witnessed doctors, lawyers, Dalits, labour workers, teachers, and many more on the streets protesting against legislation passed concerning them. This is concerning.
But, if you recognise this pattern in how the government responds to these dissent as I see, it gets more concerning with time. If turning a deaf ear and blind eye to opposition becomes the ultimate resort, the fundamental rights of the country are under threat.