TODAY -

The benefits of CAA

Free Thinker *



Those who are analyzing, discussing, dissecting and speaking about CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) in the tv- studios, public- fora, seminar rooms, rallies etc., - have failed miserably to highlight the overwhelming benefits of CAA.

First, for us, this law is not going to implement in Manipur. Because the provisions of CAA do not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland which are protected under the Inner Line Permit. In common parlance this exemption implies that even the privileged- foreigners or persecuted-foreigners can’t acquire citizenship or settle here in Manipur.

Second, in such a crucial time we have got the Inner Line Permit system. Under ILP the citizens from other parts of the country can come and stay here in Manipur as long as they are permitted to do so.

Dili has given this ILP to us considering our unique culture & identity and because of our consistent non-violent mass protest against CAB and sincere initiative of our activists, mothers and political leaders across party lines. One great thing about the Manipuris is that they stand together when the issue relates to the entire State. No doubt ILP is a blessing for us but we can still further strengthen it.

Third , at the national level CAA and other related matters has given a lease of life to the opposition parties. Actually, in the last 5/6 years the opposition parties became almost irrelevant and insignificant.

They could not come up to the minimum expectation of political maneuvering perhaps because of lack of powerful ideas. Their ideas like chawkidar-chor, rafael-kick-back, demonetization-scam, pre-mature delivery of GST etc. could not give the required fillip. But this time CAA and her sisters NPR & NRC has given some real strength to the opposition.

Fourth, direct benefit goes straight to all governments ( both Sates and Centre); because of CAA protest and continuing hue and cry the common people have forgotten their most important issues like livelihood, employment, price, health, education. In fact, it is a blessing for the government that these days the protest rallies are either for or against CAA.

When people are facing a number of problems they are dragged towards CAA and related issues. In fact, there are many important issues but those remain capped under by a less significant issue like citizenship for foreigners.

Fifth, it has created a thrilling academic atmosphere - people have started reading the Constitution of India, the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 along with the Citizenship Act 1955, the Foreigners Act, 1946, the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. In fact, CAA has created a good academic environment all over the country.

Party spokespersons are reading these documents very seriously to build up their arguments and counter arguments. Even the top political leaders have asked their legal aids to prepare briefs on this issue. Journalists are compelled to read these documents to understand the ramification and implication of the new law. Students are eagerly going through these laws along with the Constitution to enhance their enthusiasm.

Academically the overall impact of CAA is quite satisfactory. Even the rickshaw-pullers are also curious about ‘cab’ and ‘caa’; they keep asking their clients about the possible repercussions.

Sixth, the book sellers have a gala time in the metros and cities. The sale of the copies of the amended Citizenship Act 1955 (bare act), the Foreigners Act,1946, the Constitution of India has touched all-time high. The downloads of these documents from the net is also remarkably widespread.

Even the Photo-copy shops are minting money as the request for zerox have increased manifold. Hundreds of thousands of photo copies of the ‘preamble’ are taken perhaps for reading in groups. At the same time the printing-press are getting fresh orders for printing more and more copies of Indian Constitutions, The Citizenship Act, the Passport Act, etc. CAA economy is not bad at all.

A few months back we were seriously discussing on CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill). Now CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) is the most talked about subject in the entire country. Almost everyone is orating about CAA – political leaders, students, activists, social workers, writers, poets, reporters, editors etc., are chatting, twittering, debating, yelling, campaigning, demonstrating either in favor or against it.

It is not only a war of perception but also about consolidation of suffrages - which is politically prudent. Common people don’t understand the under-current of this maddening struggle. Worst still, students are being used for getting political mileage.

What a wastage of national time and energy, when we have much more important issues relating to survival and economy. Frankly speaking the ruling dispensation has got the maximum benefit out of this CAA-NPR-NRC conundrum as it has conveniently shrouded the most crucial issues which will have far reaching consequences. Despite some hic-ups in here and there the twin engine in Dili is still politically more sagacious than all our Didis, Dadas, Babas, and Comrades.

Directly or indirectly Manipur is one of the biggest beneficiaries of CAB/CAA. People taking part in the support rallies are also monetarily benefitted.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on January 24, 2020.



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