Let Not Arsonists Decide Policy Decisions In India – OpEd


The Citizenship Amendment Act  (CAA) was passed in Indian parliament (in Lok Sabha and  Rajya Sabha) and signed by President of India.  In a healthy democracy, this should be the end of the matter. The opposition parties who opposed the Bill during the discussions and lost the case, should have the maturity to accept the law,  even if they would not like it.

It appears that those who have whipped up agitation against the law and who cannot defeat Mr. Modi in elections, want to defeat him in the streets by using vituperative language, personally attacking Mr. Modi with abusive language and helped by the sensation seeking  visual and print media, giving widespread publicity to the violent agitations and the speeches of the opposition parties. Some opposition political parties and Modi hate campaigners  now seem to think that Mr. Modi can be defeated in the streets by the hate campaign.

However, the ground reality is that the Indian democracy has matured and people think carefully and make their own judgements on matters of public importance.. Many of these people are  remaining silent and are observing the developing scene with anxiety.

It is good that Mr. Modi has appealed to people to maintain peace. Certainly, most people remain peaceful.  Only a small segment of those including student politicians in the making and of course some rowdies who will do anything for sake of money and bribes are throwing stones, hitting the buses and setting fire to public properties. These sort of people do not care for law and country’s interests and if they would gain for themselves by indulging in rowdyism, then they would  not care for anything else. For most of them, going to jails have become a matter of habit and they look for opportunities from political parties and motivated hate groups to get themselves recruited for indulging in rowdy behavior.

It is extremely sad that some political parties do not care about the harm being done to the social fabric of the country due to the violent protests, for the sake of their self interest to get into power by hook or crook.  Certainly, these violent agitators are not representartive gathering of citizens  in India 

The question is how Modi government should tackle this situation.

Modi government should take the issue to the people and explain the justification for this law in simple language with facts and figures.

The main justification for the law is that the minorities in the neighbouring  countries, who thought that they were harassed by the hostile government and who belong to religions other than the official religion of the countries of their origin are eligible for their Indian citizenship.  Most of these people  do not have permits to stay in India. They are living as illegal citizens and nobody clearly knows as to how many of them are here now in Indian soil.

It is quite possible that some of these people could be even terrorists or smugglers. Justifiably, the Modi government wants to know how many of them are really there in India now and what is their background, so that people who faced harassment in the country of their origin due to religious factors would get Indian citizenship. This is essentially a humanitarian act. Most countries in developed regions do such exercise including USA.

The Modi government said that those belonging to Islam religion and who fled from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan would not be eligible for citizenship of India since people belonging to Islam religion would not be harassed by these countries on religious grounds, since these countries are officially declared as Islamic countries.

What is wrong in this approach of Modi government?

What is necessary now is that the Modi government should strongly launch a counter campaign against the ill motivated objective of some opposition parties who encourage the agitators directly or indirectly and have even justified the destruction of public property by the agitators as reflecting people’s anger.

The sad part in India today is that most section of media is owned and managed by business houses, political parties and religious bodies who have set agenda. Further, there is bitter competition between the media houses to increase their business prospects by highlighting the negative news and violent behavior.

Today, there are many good things happening in India and positive behavior and conduct exhibited by several people but the media is not interested in them and citizens seldom know about such positive happenings.

The Modi government has the challenge to expose such media houses and self-centred  and motivated politicians and hate-campaigners.

Certainly, Mr. Modi still commands huge respect and faith. He has the people’s mandate.

People placed confidence in Mr. Modi to guide the country in positive direction. To fulfill his responsibility, Mr.Modi has the duty to fight the negative forces in the country with grim determination.  

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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