Clearly, on the issue of CAA, the ruling dispensation is totally isolated.
All those opposed to CAA make a solid block- call them Group A. And we are Group B, who couldn’t just figure what CAA, NPR and NRC meant or implied, and so remained silent; but not anymore! We now know enough to protest CAA and share some incisive thoughts on the pros and cons of all related issues.
Group A people, intelligent and liberal, say CAA discriminates against the Muslims. They have a strong point. The key condition of CAA for giving refuge is that they should be facing religious persecution in – Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan. Hence, Muslim refugees from these Islamic nations will be denied refuge under CAA, on the basis that, as Muslims they couldn’t possibly be facing religious persecution there.
So, Group A says, CAA is ‘de facto’ discriminatory to Muslims, and that the condition for offering refuge should rather be ‘any kind of persecution’ so that ALL persecuted people, including Muslims, from these three countries would become eligible for citizenship of our country. We suppose we got it right so far.
We, of Group B, not particularly bright, totally agree with this argument, for we do know that many Muslims are persecuted for political and other reasons in Pakistan. Masood Azar, Hafiz Saeed, TTP leaders and thousands of their followers are presently persecuted in Pakistan in horrific ways such as being put under house arrest, forced to eat biryani by ISI and not allowed to collect donations to achieve their idealistic goals. This persecution, we understand, is being carried out by the normally liberal Pakistani Government to please, or as some say, fool, FATF into taking them off from some dreaded ‘list’. We know that the present Government of India (GOI), not being satisfied with curbing freedom in India, has played a sinister role in curbing freedom in Pakistan too by instigating FATF to do what it did.
Of course, it is said this persecution may last only till FATF allows Pakistan to access loans from World Bank- but it can have lasting effect on the morale of these braves. So, we do agree that all of them, not excluding good old Musharraf, who recruited and trained them, deserve refuge in India. Moreover, considering how the acute manpower shortage and innumerable vacancies in vital positions are crippling our economy, we can’t be choosy in admitting migrants.
But then we come to the other side of this issue. The big question is- will these persecuted Muslims, whom most of us would like to welcome into India, be happy in India? We have been told by Group A as well as by New York Times that intolerance has grown to intolerable extent in India, and that Muslims in India constantly fear for their life. When even celebrity Muslims like Amir Khan and Nasiruddin Shah fear for their family’s safety, what would be the fate of those poor Muslims from Pakistan seeking refuge in India?
For those hapless Muslims- already persecuted and seeking safety and freedom in India- it would be like ‘from frying pan into fire’. They would certainly be excused if they would later believe that all that clamour for unrolling the red carpet to them was nothing, but a trap laid by the sadistic Hindus of India to find some more Muslims to harass, bash and persecute. Also, if they weren’t used to receiving their daily dose of ‘gyan’ from New York Times, they wouldn’t know that the present GOI policies have ‘left Muslims in India fearing they will be lynched if they walk alone’. Hence, they’d be unaware that every Muslim in India, even the poorest, couldn’t think of leaving home without Z Plus type security. Can anything be worse?
Then consider how the freedom of expression is brutally suppressed in India, an issue which Group A has been raising all along. We couldn’t agree with them more. We have seen how Muslim leaders like Owaisi and many others, who were earlier very articulate, and shall we say- even aggressive in expressing their views before intolerance swept India, have now been brutally subdued by the present dispensation. Some of them do participate in TV discussions even now but can scarce dare to speak. Even as they utter a few words weakly, their terror-stricken eyes dart around, expecting the police to pounce on them any moment and drag them to jail. It is no different for anyone who wishes to expose intolerance prevailing in India. It is heartbreaking to see the deathly silence and stillness that have fallen all over India.
Shockingly, the brave JNUSU members, always in the forefront of any movement for ‘azadi’ from tyrannies like fee-hikes and studies, and those permanent residents of JNU hostels ever ‘on the bench’ for any protest, are currently unable to take out a single procession or shout a single, inspiring slogan. Alarmingly, no voices are raised against the draconian CAA in any corner of India. We have also seen how the non-students of unknown origin, given to burning buses when they smell any good cause, are currently afraid to burn even a single bus due to unspeakable police brutality. This is suppression of ‘freedom of action to express anguish’. Afterall, bus burning has spectacular visual effect, enabling TV reporters to breathlessly announce that ‘India is literally burning!’. All these suppressions amount to fascism of the best…. or is it, … the worst kind.
Now imagine Masood Azar, Saeed, et al, so used to freedom of expression, coming to India, becoming citizens and trying to make their fiery speeches to their followers who would have followed them to India! We won’t be shocked if they are muzzled, gagged and thrown into prison, – something the GOI is doing to thousands of innocents every day. And what about the safety of these brave jihadis? When our own Muslims need high security, wouldn’t these worthies from across the border need an army of guards, and at great cost? Yes, but surely, we can levy a ‘security-cess’ on taxes to meet the cost.
Anyway, having raised our voice against CAA and the fascist system to do our bit, we feel redeemed at last!
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.