TODAY -

Asylum for select migrants; doesn't it amount to madness ?

SK Singh *



The CAB, 2019 is widely acclaimed as an attempt to provide a much-needed 'asylum' to 'illegal migrant' who sneaked into this country. Why this method, this systematized procedure, for naturalization of the millions and millions of foreigners entering stealthily into this country without any valid document?

To achieve this goal, the original bill of 1955 that stipulates 11 years as the minimum number of years an illegal migrant had to stay in the country, to be eligible for regularization, has been reduced to 5 years now. Why this relaxation, or could it be termed favoritism or could there be some other agenda 'hidden and secured'? Could it still be termed 'madness"?

These modern days to achieve a certain goal, madness are accepted provided there is a system, a method in executing the allegedly mad business. The intended meaning can be best exhibited in Manipuri where the adage goes something like, "Ngaorashu Ngaosana".

In the olden days this word 'Sana' by itself or affixed to some other word was widely practiced to add glamour to its meaning or implication and practiced to exemplify 'respectability'. Like, Tombi-Sana, Sana-Tomba and the like; even inanimate objects like 'Leikai' or body parts like 'Khong' were made more glamorous by terming as, 'Sana-Yaiskul', 'Sana-Khong'. In the same spirit, 'madness' is OK provided there is a 'pattern', a 'system'.

What could then be this great 'goal' for the ruling party the NDA (II) to adopt?

The BJP government in the centre is alleged to push its agenda of passing the CAB and in turn the CAA, a policy committed despite its being colored sectarian. This major initiative has been facing rough, indeed very rough whether ever since they declared their determination the during the fag end of NDA(I) to pass the Act in both the Sabhas. The intention however colored 'madness', or better still, 'Ngao-Sana', they had been keeping in mind ever since the run up to its 2014 campaign.

In its Lok Sabha election Manifesto in 2019, BJP announced 75 promises to be implemented or fulfilled if they were voted to power. Why '75', making it coincide with the 75th Independence day in 2022; this political party known for its touch of ear-catching propaganda.

The most controversial amidst these is Citizen Amendment Bill, with its oft-proclaimed 'compassionate' agenda to provide citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian refugees from 3 neighboring countries, all Muslim-dominated, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The more damning situation could be the hypothetical assumption that they were in India after fleeing persecution on account of their religious identity. The stipulation is that any person belonging to these faiths who sneaked into India or before December 31, 2014 would be eligible to apply for Indian citizenship. Of course the criteria are 'they should be victims of religious persecution or faced atrocities in their country of origin.

This story of election manifesto of 2019 even sounds ill-dated; the 2014 manifesto of the party was more vocal, focused and pointed with its own touch of staunt Hindutva perhaps spiced with its hatred for religions other than Hinduism. The 2014 election manifesto thundered, "India shall remain a natural home for persecuted Hindus who shall be welcome to seek refuge here".

The chief architect of the BJP, a star campaigner, even before he assumed leadership as the undisputed premier, often bursts out, "we have a responsibility towards Hindus (not Muslims) who are harassed and suffer in other countries. India is the only place for them".

While people argue against this allegedly totalitarian agenda, the explicit exclusion of the Muslims from the ambit of the CAB in particular is a matter of concern and has continued to be a bone of contention of secular-minded people irrespective of party affiliations.

Considering the expressed cult of India being a secular country, ignoring the plight of Muslims facing such atrocities, it is often argued that the CAB is nothing short of discrimination both from consideration of understanding and more specifically 'scope'.

There were other persecuted communities like Sri Lankan Tamils and Rohingas from Myanmar seeking refuge in India. They were left governed by the philosophy of Modi that, 'we have a responsibility towards Hindus….', and perhaps, according to them, Hindus only.

Is this thought governed by the ideology of the BJP, or in line with the 'Hindutva Vision', originally expounded by VD Sarvakar?

History has it on record, how Rashtria Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) Pracharak and BJP leader Rajeshwar Singh claimed after a few months of Modi assuming the PM of the country in 2014, "Muslims and Christians will be wiped out of India by December 31, 2021. It is therefore no departure from this ideology, the Bill differentiates between victims on the basis of 'religion'. More hitches are in store as the time matures, MS Golwalker of the RSS writes in 'We or Nationhood Defined', "The non-Hindu people in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion. …..We are an old nation; and let us deal as old nations ought to and do deal, with foreign races, who have chosen to live in our country."

Apart from seemingly ideological overtones in finding grey areas of the Bill, there are too, considerations attracting criticism of the Bill largely from political overview. If Modi government is charged with keeping an eye on the vast Bengali refugees from mainly Bangladesh settled in the Barak belt for his own vote pasture, Mamata Bannerjee of West Bengal has too her own arithmetic as to what extent her vote banks would shrink once the Act is implemented. These areas need further dissemination and thus more will come in the open.


* SK Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on January 08, 2020.



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