It has been more than a month since the Citizenship Amendment Act or the CAA was passed by both the houses of the Indian parliament. The protests that started immediately following the passage have continued unabated for over a month despite more than thirty deaths due to heavy handed police tactics. Many more have been imprisoned on flimsy charges for excercising their right of free speech and assembly.
In state after state, in towns large and small and cities, on college campuses, at the court houses, at historic venues, the anti-CAA protesters are registering their protest against the body blow to India’s founding principles by singing the national anthem and reciting the preamble to the constitution.
After the passage of the bill in mid-December a feeling of helplessness enveloped me. I was afraid for India’s Muslims and other vulnerable groups. The rise of the BJP from a bit player on the political scene to its current status is built on the demonization of Muslims and anti-Muslim pogroms. Those fears were realized when reports of the brutal police actions in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led states, especially in Uttar Pradesh started trickling in.
The CAA takes aim at the heart of the Indian Constitution by singling out Muslims and treating them differently than adherents of other religions. This bill along with the BJP’s government’s plan to construct a National Register of Citizens would be a living nightmare not just for the 100 million plus Muslim population but also the poor and dispossessed. The NRC conducted in Assam gives us a window on how a similar exercise conducted on a national scale would turn out.
The BJP had tried to pass this law in an earlier session of the Parliament but it died because they didn’t have the numbers to pass it through the upper house, Rajya Sabha prior to the elections last May. But after gaining an imposing majority in the Lok Sabha in the last elections, this time around many smaller parties decide to go along with the BJP’s agenda in the Rajya Sabha and the bill passed both the Houses easily.(Left to Right : The Sangh role model, Mr. Modi in the Sangh uniform)
The agenda of the BJP is the agenda of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the political off shoot of the black hats and brown shorts (recently the shorts have been replaced by pants) wearing all male volunteer organization. The RSS is modeled after similar organizations in Europe following World War I. Their plan for India has always been clear, to rid India of its religious minorities, especially its Muslims or relegate them to an inferior or a secondary status and assert a muscular Hindu identity. Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism are considered Hindu by the Sangh in this classification while Islam and Christianity are not.
When the BJP was able to form a government on their own strength I knew that their long awaited ideological project would gather full steam. Taking away Kashmir’s status as a state of the Indian Union was just the first step. Their agenda is not popular except among their die-hard supporters. So Prime Minister Modi maintains an avuncular facade talking about schemes of keeping India clean, building toilets and bringing LPG cylinders to villages. But make no mistake, he is a Sangh pracharak. He has dedicated his life to the Sangh and presided over a vicious anti-Muslim pogrom in 2002 as the Chief Minister (Executive Head and the Legislative leader) of Gujarat…
To read the rest (including more protest signs), click the link.