By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally at Ramlila ground in the national capital on December 22 proclaimed that there was no detention camp in India. His statement plainly denied the existence of any detention camps in India.
But the fact is that there are 6 detention camps already exist in Assam for years. 10 more are coming up. Land identified for one at Nerul near Mumbai by the previous BJP-led Govt. But on Dec 24 Uddhav Thackeray Government announced that it will withdraw the land consent and not allow any detention camp there. One in Bangalore is just completed, will be functioning from this Jan, 2020 itself. Detailed media reports are handy online.
Mr. Modi at Ramlila rally also said that nobody in his Govt. uttered the word NRC ever since he took power in 2014.
Fact is that he himself spoke about NRC in length on 24 April, 2019 in West Bengal during an election rally, video recording is avail. Home Minister Amit Shah spoke about NRC+CAA in details before media, in public rallies and in the Parliament on 9 and 11 Dec. 2019. Haryana’s BJP CM said he is going to implement NRC in his state and BJP’s Delhi president said he wants NRC in Delhi too. All these are recently made recorded statements and are in public domains.
Mr. Modi said on 22 Dec. at Ramlila that those protesting against CAA are urban naxals and misguided lots.
Fact is that those protesting against the CAA+NRC are mostly students, academia, professionals and highly educated civil society members including common public both male and female, old and young. Levelling all these Indians as urban Naxals is simply Mr. Modi’s level.
Today (24 Dec.), Mr Amit Shah tried to distinguish between NRC, NPR and CAA and also said Assam and Northeast are peaceful, no protest against CAA is going on there.
Fact of the matter is that entire Assam is protesting each day in some or the other city – small or big, but national media is blacking them out. Similarly, people from Meghalaya and Tripura are shouting against the CAA from top of their voices. Difference is only police is not targeting them they way it did on 8, 9, 10 and 11 Dec. 2019 and they are also not damaging public properties. All protests in Northeast are better organized now inclusive.
Indians do not want to pay heed to Mr. Shah’s Jumlas anymore. They had enough of them from him and they really don’t trust him at all. He emphatically talked about NRC and now the PM Modi is sweepingly denying it saying nobody talked about the “word NRC” since he took power in 2014. It is also unknown when this Govt. may take an extreme turn on any issue as it did take about demonetization and Kashmir issues.
Nevertheless, Indians are well aware that NPR is an updated from of census which was initiated in 2010 but then the CAA was not part of the Citizenship Act 1955. Now with CAA in place, it is rightly considered that NPR is a backdoor entry of NRC. For reference check the official version of the NPR statement attached herewith. Here is a huge trust deficit among the people, there is a gulf between what the BJP Govt. says and does.
Given the massive nationwide protests, losses of valuable lives at home and international pressure, BJP-led Govt. simply wants to buy more time and divert public attention. This was clearly evident from Mr. Modi’s lengthy speech on Sunday, 22 December 2019.
In this circumstances, we the Indians, who are not urban or rural naxals, nor ignorant to be misguided, tax payers and proud citizens of this great country consciously decide that NPR process must be completely stopped unless CAA is repealed or amended according to the Constitution of India. We also urge all the state governments to deny cooperation to the NPR process unless the CAA is scraped and the safeguard of India’s secular democratic constitution is ensured.
We also want transparent justice for all those protesters who either lost their lives or are victims in anyway, including police officers.
The author is Mumbai based scholar and editor Eastern Crescent.