Skip to main content

Former SC, HC justices, advocates, activists, litterateurs oppose CAB, seek support

Counterview Desk
Several top citizens, including former judges, advocates, litterateurs and activists have sought support for their statement opposing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2019, and proposed all-India National Register of Citizens (NRC). To be released on December 10, those who support it have been asked to endorse it end in to cjpindia@gmail.com or here.
Called Stand Up for the Constitution #Scrap CAB 2019 #NoNRC, those who have floated the statement are: former Supreme Court justice PB Sawant, former Bombay High Court justices Hosbet Suresh and BG Kolse Patil, human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, poet and screen writer Javed Akhtar, industrialist and activist Cyrus Guzder, senior advocates Mihir Desai and Sandhya Gokhale, actor and writer Chitra Palekar, artist Shankuntala Kulkarni, journalist Anil Dharker, and bureaucrat-turned-avtivist Harsh Mander.

Text:

Citizenship has been defined as the right to have rights. Citizenship in India is based on the non-negotiable principles of equality and non-discrimination. India, when it became Independent (1947) and thereafter when it firmly rooted itself in an inclusive and composite nationhood, in 1950, accepted that people of all faiths, creeds, castes, languages and genders, equally and without discrimination are Indian.
In sharp contrast to this foundational commitment and history, over the past six years, there are clear political moves to fundamentally assault and redefine this Constitutional basis of both Indian nationhood and citizenship.
Especially now, with the newly drafted proposed CAB or Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 (that is now proposed to be re-introduced in the 2019 Winter Session of Parliament) and second through a hurried, and not thoroughly debated all India-level National Population Register (NPR)-National Register of Citizens (NRC) process.
Both these moves need to be categorically protested and condemned.
CAB (2019) makes a promise to entertain requests for refuge and citizenship to all those ‘persecuted minorities’ from three Islamic countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who reached India before either 2014 or later.
The amendments by giving special privileges to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jain, Parsis and Christians from these three countries, single out Muslims for exclusion. For example, neither the Ahmadiyas, who are undoubtedly persecuted in Pakistan, nor do possible asylum seekers like the Rohingyas from Myanmar or Tamils from Sri Lanka have any place here.
For the first time there is a statutory attempt to not just privilege peoples from some faiths but at the same time relegate another, Muslims, to second-rate status. The proposed amendments to India’s 1955 citizenship law (Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019) need to be strongly rejected on these counts alone, in that they are divisive and discriminatory in character.
The CAB, 2019 is at odds with Constitutional secular principles and a violation of Articles 13, 14, 15, 16 and 21 which guarantee the right to equality, equality before the law and non discriminatory treatment by the Indian state.
This regime threatens to go further. Through the process of enlisting for an NPR)
 and thereafter an NRC, the present government appears intent on causing huge upheavals within Indian society. Assam has, especially since 2013, been reeling under the impact of this ill-conceived exercise.
Apart from the huge material costs, the human costs have been immeasurable. Death, families torn apart; detention camps and foreigners’ tribunals; fear, the spectre of statelessness – this is what the ordinary people, especially minorities, Dalits, women, children and the poor have had to suffer and continue to suffer. The worst impacted are women and children.
A nation-wide NRC will unleash widespread division and suffering among people across the country – rather than address the critical needs, from food security and employment to the annihilation of discrimination based on caste, community and gender, to the freedom to speak, worship, and live as our diverse people choose.
Today 19 lakh persons (1.9 million live a broken existence in Assam with the sword of statelessness hanging over them. Does the rest of India want to tread this path?
A nation-wide NRC will unleash widespread division and suffering among people across the country
Never mind this history, the Indian government wishes now to replicate an Assam like trauma on the entire Indian people. While the government has announced, or rather decreed, that the NPR survey would begin from April 2020 onwards, there has been no public debate and clarity -- in Parliament or elsewhere -- on the criteria of inclusion and exclusion within this ‘register’ once its begins.
Neither has there been any deliberation on the documents that will be required and demanded as standards of poof. There is also complete silence on the ‘cut-off date’ that will be used as the bottom line.
Indian citizenship law grants citizenship by birth to all born before 1987. After that date apart from the citizens birth the requirement is that one parent needs to have been born in India before 1987. After 2004, there is an additional qualification that neither parent should be an illegal migrant. Given this calibration in existing law, what is or will be the criteria for inclusion and exclusion in the NPR/NRC? In a constitutional democracy can such an exercise be shrouded in secrecy?
Indian society is stratified with the ‘document’ being the privilege of the moneyed and few. Internal migration, natural and manmade disasters particular affect and target marginalised and displaced populations who have to struggle to produce these standards of proof. India has not yet given its migrant labour populations basic voting rights.
Despite a birth registration law that dates to 1969, only 58 % of Indian births are today registered. The Aadhar experiment has thrown up its own levels of horror stories.
Under these circumstances must Indians allow their government to throw them into this conundrun of proof of existence by the document?
We must unequivocally reject CAB 2019 and at the same time in the same breath, NPR/NRC.

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

'Allow critical thinking': SAARC-sponsored varsity teachers support protesting students

By Our Representative
Teachers of the high-profile South Asian University (SAU), a New Delhi-based international institute sponsored by eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – have supported “peacefully protesting students and other citizens” against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.