TODAY -

Cocktail of CAB, CAA, NRC & NPR

Free Thinker *



At the outset, let us understand what a cock-tail is. It is a drink usually made from a mixture of one or more spirits - strong alcoholic drinks. The mixture may be of any kind - it can be Rum plus Whiskey plus Beer or it may be a blend of Wine, Vodka, Breezer etc., or any combination of alcoholic spirits which culminates to a good sip and kick. But the ultimate goal of a cocktail is obviously high intoxication. Consequences may be desirable or not?

Now the issue is whether CAB, CAA, NRC, NPR constitute a cocktail? People are confused, particularly those who are neither aligned with the Ruling or the Opposition - though they are both de jure and de facto citizens of this great country called Hindustan or Bharat or India. They don’t know which side is righter?

Even the intellectuals are divided; they don’t know how to respond. One scholar who was earlier with the Left now rejected by the Right expresses his Centrist view - “when the world is already conquered by technology, we still quarrel about a very archaic political concept namely citizenship; all netizens are global citizens now”.

In a way politicians and political parties are performing their respective duties. They have the clarity. There is no doubt about it. The Ruling Party definitely support all kinds of laws and policies framed by the Government. And it is the bounden duty of the opposition parties to find loopholes in the laws and policies of the government in power. This is what we understand by politics; and that is part and parcel of a vibrant democracy.

For the common citizens and the students community it is hard to go either way. Normally they go by the views of the intellectuals and thinkers. The confusion is further co-founded when the intellectuals are divided or remain mum. As a part time thinker let me try to bring about some more confusion in the whole scenario.

First, CAB is now CAA. So, remove CAB from the cocktail. Earlier it was a ‘Bill’ (proposed legislation) and now it is an ‘Act’ of parliament (law enacted by Parliament). Consequently, now we are having a new citizenship law. Constitutionally a law passed by the Parliament is the law of the land.

Until and unless the Apex court strikes it down, we can’t make it null and void. It applies to the State Governments also. Again, CAA may be changed or further amended by Parliament itself if necessary. This is the Constitutional position. Now we have no CAB but CAA- Citizenship Amendment Act.

Reading the new law, If I understand correctly Muslims from other countries can still become Indian citizens through the earlier process - they may take 11 years to acquire Indian citizenship. Then according to the new law some minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh may get Indian citizenship slightly faster - say 6 years if they had already arrived in India before the new year day of 2015; and also proving that they fled these counties because of religious persecution.

Government has its logic (persecuted minorities, unfinished agenda of partition, etc, etc ). If the citizens don’t like their rational, the incumbent may be ousted in the next election. This is democracy. Govt. has the right to have its policies and programs. So, CAA is nothing but an innocuous policy of the ruling Govt. meant for the larger interest of the country. CAA as such is not a spirited ingredient of the Cocktail.

Second, if we believe the Prime Minister (we are supposed to believe as we have faith in the system) - NRC is not yet designed and not in the agenda. Then as of now NRC has no relevance for the whole country except for Assam which was Apex Court mandated. Minus NRC from the Cocktail.

Third, NPR is the normal National Population Register, something to do with our decadal census; the citizens are to fill up a declaration form; they are supposed to give their correct details. There is no big deal about it. If we think that it is a big conspiracy against the minorities, we must think twice; actually, it was started by the earlier UPA regime.

Now the argument is that the details sought in 2011 were less and now NDA govt. is asking more details. If the citizens have extra personal details like Aadhaar what is wrong to furnish all? So, NPR can’t be a potent component of the Cocktail.

However, people acknowledge the crucially difficult role played by the opposition; they have been trying to strangle the government, embarrass the government or malign the government. That is their democratic duty. They tried with demonetization, GST, Rafle, ‘370’ , ‘377’, Ayodhya, Triple Talaq etc. but they had limited success and ample failure. We must always appreciate the role of opposition sans violence and destruction. Without a strong opposition democracy is quite boring.

This time seemingly the cocktail combination works - gives little high. But you never know the power of the parivar - the cocktail may be converted into a mocktail anytime.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on January 07, 2020.



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