Citizenship Law And Justice For All!

The blood in Uttar Pradesh has still not dried. At least 22 people have died in various towns of this state, even as clashes continue. The police in a bizarre argument has said that the people killed, died because of the crossfire within protesters. Only the UP Police can give such an argument even while media reports say they allegedly went inside homes of Muslims in Muzaffarnagar at midnight, beat up residents, including women and children, broke whatever they saw including refrigerators, TVs and washing machines, and stole money. Despite the police denial, there is visual evidence to prove how law enforcement agents became lawless goons loaded with a communal bias. After all, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had called for ‘revenge’. That the Prime Minister, the Home Minister are backing Yogi is also without doubt.

Will the people of Uttar Pradesh get justice?

In 1984, media reporters, including this writer, were on the spot in the State-sponsored killings of Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere, master-minded by Congress goons and politicians, especially in Delhi. The mediapersons covered on foot bloody lanes and bylanes in east and west Delhi, witnessed the burnt out homes with the smell of kerosene.  

Also Read: Deconstructing India’s New Citizenship Law

When a big tree falls, the earth will shake, said Rajiv Gandhi, then. The Congress ran a diabolical and sinister anti-Sikh campaign after Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her own bodyguards. The Congress won by a huge margin in the next national polls. The BJP got two seats in the Lok Sabha. It took more than three decades to put Sajjan Kumar in jail. After god knows how many commissions of enquiry.

How did the Sikhs feel then? Did they get justice? No.

Ask the Muslims of Hashimpura, Maliana and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh about 1987 violence. Taken out with their hands up in the lanes of their colonies, with guns pointing at them, scores were shot in cold blood by a communal Provincial Armed Constabulary in mafia/Nazi execution style, their bodies dumped in the Hindon river. It was a Congress regime at the Centre and the state.

Did they, their relatives, the survivors, the community, get justice? No.

Not till date, after 33 years. And what was the message to the Muslims by a so-called secular regime? Trust, you know, you were, you are, you will be, always, second class citizens of independent, modern India, though you willfully chose a secular democratic State, not a theocratic State.

Did the secular Indian society get justice in the protracted Babri Masjid demolition issue which was trapped in the labyrinths of the judicial process for decades? Who led the demolition as a public spectacle under a BJP regime in Lucknow, who were the leaders who were openly celebrating the demolition in Ayodhya, while Indian and foreign journalists were getting bashed up by the Bajrang Dal activists? Who led the Somnath-to-Ayodhya regime with the slogan: Mandir wahin Banayenge?

Was anyone held responsible for the riots that followed and killed scores across the damned Indian landscape?

Did anyone get punished for the killings of Muslims in Bombay in the macabre winter of 1992-93, despite the meticulously documented Sri Krishna Commission Report? Did the Congress, NCP, BJP, Shiv Sena regime implement the report?

I will skip the details about the 2002 barbaric, State-sponsored genocide in Gujarat under the helm of Narendra Modi. Mediapersons reported the genocide in great details and even after 2002 kept digging and documenting. We waited for justice after the macabre gang-rapes and killings, the people burnt alive as a public spectacle, and the fake encounters that followed. Not one, a series of fake encounters. Mission Assassination Modi – they were called.

Did the mass murderers get punished? Did the fake encounter specialists get punished? Did the Muslims of Gujarat get justice? No.

Till date, almost four months after 8 million people in Kashmir, under military occupation, await justice from the highest court. In Assam, almost 19 lakh Indians, mostly Hindus, tribals, Gorkhas and indigenous communities, apart from Muslims, have been left out of the National Register of Citizens and condemned allegedly as foreigners or ‘doubtful voters’ – will they get justice? Undoubtedly, no.

It is a good thing too. The loss of faith should energise the political struggle. Because, it is the non-violent political struggle which will liberate us from our masters’ masculine arrogance and disregard for all institutions, including the Indian Constitution. Can we have faith in the courts in contemporary times? That is the widespread question right now across the spectrum which had always believed in the judicial process, especially the Supreme Court.

However, the peaceful political resistance and mass movement must do what it must, as a political struggle, and not seek judicial intervention which might effectively kill the movement. And it is a struggle which is secular. Everywhere, in Assam and the Northeast, as much as all over India now, from Kurnool in Andhra to Nuh in Mewat, from Mumbai to Kolkata. It has spread and taught the masculine arrogance of the current regime a good lesson.

But there is a remote possibility of justice, especially when it is political struggle for justice. But who will turn the tide? A mass movement, in synthesis with theory and praxis, led by the young. A peaceful, non-violent, united mass movement – as it is now happening across the Indian landscape, as a rainbow revolution. Yes, led by the young.

There is no defeat in a movement. All movements are victorious, for they create a spiral of new movements and ideas and adventures and literature and cinema, counter-culture and knowledge systems. They create new scaffoldings of resistance and barricades.

That is why an idea cannot be killed. That is why Bhagat Singh and his comrades, as much as Babasaheb Ambedkar, or even Lenin and Che and Fidel, can never die. Nor will Gramsci. Nor will the Mahatma.

There is hope in a non-violent, Gandhian, mass upsurge. ‘Don’t be silent, Don’t be violent’ – as the current slogan says, among an extraordinary repertoire of brilliant slogans. Like a hundred flowers blooming, and one hundred new sublime schools of thought.

Rahul Slams Modi For Lying On Detention Centres

Rahul Gandhi on Saturday reiterated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi lied on the existence of detention centres in the country, despite the BJP asserting that the Congress leader’s statement was a lie.

“I have tweeted a video where Narendra Modi is saying that there are no detention centres in India, and in the same video there are visuals of a detention centre, so you decide who is lying,” Gandhi told reporters when his reaction was sought over BJP’s calling him “liar of the year”.

Tweeted by him on Thursday, the video features a road purportedly leading to a detention centre in Assam and Modi’s speech denying the existence of such camps in India.

“The Prime Minister of RSS lies to Bharat Mata,” read the video’s caption with hashtag lies, lies, lies.

At a public address in the national capital earlier this week, Modi had said: “Neither is there any detention centre in India nor will any Indian Muslim be sent to it.”

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra was quick to slam the Congress leader, calling him the “chieftain of liars”. The party had accused the Congress of spreading misinformation on the construction of detention centres.

On Friday, Gandhi termed the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) as an attack on the poor people of the country, saying that it was akin to taxing them.

To this, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar accused Gandhi of speaking lies and said that he is the candidate for 2019 “liar of the year”.

“Rahul Gandhi has continued to a lie. He is a candidate for the ‘lie of the year’ 2019. Earlier, just a family was troubled by his lies but now the whole Congress and people are troubled over it,” Javadekar said.


Pak Hindus Take Out Rally To Support CAA In Delhi

Members of the Hindu community from Pakistan, who fled religious persecution from the neighbouring country and came to India, held a peaceful march in New Delhi on Friday in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

The members urged the government to accord citizenship to the persecuted families and appealed to opposition parties to stop opposing the new law.

“We fled atrocities from Pakistan and came to India. Some people are saying don’t give citizenship to us. Where will we go? We were looted and forced to leave the country. We demand the government to give citizenship to us soon,” Dharamveer, a migrant from Pakistan’s Sindh province, told ANI.

Another migrant, S Tara Chand, echoed similar sentiments and said that persecuted Hindu families who came to India are not infiltrators.

“We are not infiltrators. We legally entered India with a visa and passport. The opposition parties are annoyed with us. We have come here, where else will we go? Opposition parties are saying don’t give citizenship to us. I appeal to them not to oppose this and give us citizenship at the earliest,” he said.

Protests have erupted in several parts of the country over CAA, which grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

In some parts, Section-144 has been imposed as a precautionary measure in view of the prevailing law and order situation. (ANI)

Bangladesh – A Long And Firm March Towards Prosperity

Preparing to hug the half-century milestone, Bangladesh this month celebrated with aplomb its 49th Bijoy Divas or the Victory Day. On that day in 1971, over 93,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered to the Joint Command of India and Bangladeshi Mukti Bahini forces, permanently altering the world map.

That slice of history may mean many things to many people today. But to succeeding generations of those who went through political turmoil followed by ten months of organised violence, and ending in a decisive military victory, remains and shall remain forever an extraordinary moment.

The parade marking the occasion showed a confident Bangladesh. Military hardware was proudly displayed on the ground and in the sky. That combined with floats and tableaux of projects, programmes and achievements made for an impressive show.

Indian veterans led by Lt. Gen. (rtd.) R S Kadian marched and so did a contingent and band of the National Cadet Corps (NCC). It struck Muhammad Iqbal’s musical note, “Saare Jahan Se Achha,” that harks back to an undivided South Asia.

Bangladesh has assigned itself a two-year tryst by which time it will complete 50 years of independence. It wants the world to notice its rise from being dubbed the “international basket case” in initial years to become, at annual 8.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP) rise, one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Putting its cheap work force to good use and with many plus points that have eluded most others among the least-developed countries (LDCs), Bangladesh has all the makings of a developing nation. Out of the food scarcity rut, it is diversifying farm and industrial output and even exporting surplus.

It aims to leap into the cyber-digital era with come-hither calls to anyone who cares to respond.  With its good debt servicing record, Bangladesh is an attractive investor’s destination. Both regional giants, China and India, are wooing and being wooed.

At independence, over 90 percent of its annual budget was foreign-financed. Two decades later, it was 70 percent and was 50 percent a decade back when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returned to power.

The figure has now reversed. Ninety-two percent of the budget is being funded internally. Booming garment exports, some to marquee global brands and remittances from its 10 million working abroad contribute generously.

Bangladesh has long seen itself as a bridge between South and south-east Asia. With Cox’s Bazaar beach and Royal Bengal Tigers in the Sundarban, its tourism pitch is rising. People are warm and hospitable. But much needs done to improve infrastructure.

Many of Bangladesh’s human development indicators are better than others in the region. The economy is already the best-performing in South Asia, outdoing in proportional terms larger neighbour India and certainly, Pakistan, from which it violently separated.

Due to this past, Pakistan’s image remains negative in official and much of the popular discourse. India figures high despite the current concerns over two Indian laws with bearing on its east and northeast that encase Bangladesh. If persisted, they could have political fallout.

Sheikh Hasina cherishes India ties and has diligently worked to nurture them. For one, she has ended Indian militants’ run. She appreciates India’s contribution to Liberation and thereafter. She is trying hard to keep the current political and diplomatic discourse triggered by Indian laws, to the bare-minimum, so far. This reflects self-confidence and maturing of a nation of 165 million people.

There are other signs of a young nation with young people having the highest proportion in South Asia of women in every field. Farms and garment factories are ample proof of that. Exuberant crew members want to get photographed with passengers as part of the PR effort as more and more privately run airlines fly passengers in and out.

On political front, Hasina remains firm on punishing killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s foremost leader and her father in a 1975 military-led coup, and most of her family. The West is critical of the process employed and the Islamic world is unhappy. But both can’t ignore Bangladesh.   

Ethos of the Bengali language stir of the 1950s and the freedom movement remains strong in the face of religious extremists. When these forces inflicted violence in 2013, Muslims and Hindus together fought back at Dhaka’s Shahbag Avenue. This conflict remains a constant challenge.

Bangladesh is, uniquely both. An Islamic nation that, thanks to its culture, is also broadly secular. (Secularism as basic principle remains part of its Constitution). The society as a whole remains conservative, respectful of elders and displays overt religiosity.

This complex amalgamation ensures co-existence and diversity. With that comes a high measure of political stability, due principally to Hasina’s continuance in office for a third consecutive term. She looms large over the country’s horizon. Forbes’ ranks her 29th among the world’s most powerful woman.

As investors get attracted, she has forced Western governments to ignore her hard line on political opponents, especially the Jamaat-e-Islami. Her arch rival and two-term former premier, Begun Khaleda Zia, is ailing, ageing and denied bail, currently imprisoned for graft.

There are negative indicators, too, when it comes to transparency, sanitation, ease of doing business and media freedom that, as in the rest of South Asia, should hopefully improve with longer spells of political stability.

Contradictions seemingly persist and are growing with changes in other spheres. The pristine riverine scape of the boatman and his folk songs as one read in Tagore and Nazrul literature is slowly yielding place to increasing urbanization.

A provincial capital at Independence, Dhaka has become unbearably chaotic with 24×7 traffic snarls around high-rise buildings. As bridges and fly-overs struggle to make movement faster, a rapid mass transport system now under construction shall continue to add to the chaos, till it is completed.

These are but brief, broad-brush impressions, of one who has witnessed Bangladesh for over 45 years. Handicapped by inadequate knowledge, of language in particular, they are compensated, hopefully, by best wishes for bright future for its people.

The writer recently visited Bangladesh at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He can be reached at

Army Chief’s Remarks On Leadership Draws Oppn Fire

Leaders across the political spectrum on Thursday condemned Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s remarks on the leadership.

Alluding to the protests across the country over citizenship law, the Army chief had earlier today said that leading masses and crowds to carry out arson and violence in cities and towns is not leadership. “Leaders are not those who lead people in an inappropriate direction,” he said.

Taking a dig at him for his remarks, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi said, “Leadership is knowing the limits of one’s office. It is about understanding the idea of civilian supremacy and preserving the integrity of the institution that you head.”

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also expressed similar sentiments.

“I agree [with] General Saheb but also leaders are not those who allow their followers to indulge in the genocide of communal violence. Do you agree with me General Saheb?” he questioned.

Several parts of the country witnessed a spate of protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), many of which turned violent.

Incidentally, a lot of these demonstrations have taken place in several colleges and universities across the country.


‘BJP’s NPR Dangerous, Different From Congress’

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday slammed the BJP-led Central government over the National Population Register (NPR) and said that it is dangerous and different from the one implemented by the UPA in 2010.

In a series to tweets, Chidambaram said that the BJP has a sinister agenda and dared the Centre to state that they have no intention of linking it to the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Congress leader’s remark comes two days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that there is no link between the NPR and the NRC and the data collected for the NPR will not be used in the NRC.

“The BJP-led government has a larger and more sinister agenda and that is why the NPR approved by them yesterday is very dangerous and different in terms of the text as well as the context of NPR 2010,” Chidambaram said on Twitter.

He also urged the people to listen to the video of the launch of NPR in 2010, which was recently released by the BJP and asserted that back then the emphasis was on residency, not citizenship.

“I am happy that the BJP has released a video clip of the launch of NPR in 2010. Please listen to the video. We were enumerating the “usual residents” of the country. The emphasis is on residency, not citizenship,” the Congress leader tweeted.

“Every usual resident was to be enumerated irrespective of his or her religion or place of birth. The NPR aided the preparation of the Census of 2011. There was no mention of NRC,” he added.

Chidambaram said, “If the BJP’s motives are bonafide, let the Government unconditionally state that they support the NPR form and design of 2010 and have no intention of linking it to the controversial NRC.”

Amid growing apprehensions about the NPR, Amit Shah in an exclusive interview with ANI had urged opposition parties not to do politics over the population register as “it is aimed at benefitting citizens and for improving the planning of welfare schemes”.

So far, the governments of West Bengal and Kerala have decided to stop the exercise to update the NPR.


UPCC Candle March

1200 Booked For Anti-CAA Candle March In Aligarh

Police has registered cases against as many as 1,000-1,200 unidentified persons who participated in a candle march at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) campus on December 23 in solidarity with those who lost their lives in the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest.

The cases have been registered at police station Civil Lines, Aligarh under IPC section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and IPC section 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint). Police said that the march was unauthorised as no permission was sought for the same.

On December 15, clashes broke out between police and the students protesting against the amended citizenship Act. The police fired tear gas shells outside the AMU after protestors pelted stones at them.

Since the enactment of the CAA, which grants citizenship to non-Muslim minorities including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, protests have erupted in various parts of the country including the national capital.

The AMU has been shut down till January 5, 2020, in the wake of these protests.


CAA Protests: Govt Serves Notice For Recovery Of Damage

A notice was issued to a clutch of people in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district seeking monetary recovery of damages done by them during the massive protests against amended citizenship law last week.

The notice stated: “It is established that on December 21, 2019, you had gathered near Kotwali area of Rampur district where you protested, pelted stones and fired at the security personnel and also ransacked the place.”

It listed eleven things, including a police jeep and vehicles, which were damaged by the protesters. The notice stated that the protests caused financial loss amounting to crore of rupees.

People who have been served the notice are directed to reply to it, failing which a proceeding to recover the amount will be initiated.

Earlier today, Rampur’s District Magistrate (DM) Aunjaneya Singh said that the identity of those involved in the destruction of public property has been identified through CCTV footage and their names sent to the police. “Assessment of damage has been done and notice issued to twenty-eight identified accused. Further action will be taken.”


48 Arrested In UP Over Anti-CAA Violence

At least 48 people have been arrested in connection with violence during a protest against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) here, police said on Wednesday.

Superintendent of Police Yamuna Prasad said, “55 persons have been identified and posters are being released for the identification of other 150 people who were involved in violence during the protests against the Amended Citizenship Act. We have arrested 48 persons so far.”

“Three cases have been registered for spreading hateful messages and videos,” the official added.

An FIR was registered against 17 people including some Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders on December 20.

On Friday, police-protestors clashes erupted in different districts of Uttar Pradesh including Bahraich, Bareilly, Varanasi, Bhadohi, Gorakhpur, etc.

During the protest, a state transport bus was allegedly set on fire during the protests. Protests have intensified in several parts of the country after the Parliament gave the nod to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which became an Act after getting assent from President Ram Nath Kovind.

Section-144 was imposed in various parts of the state in view of the prevailing law and order situation.

The Act grants Indian citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.