Thiruvananthapuram

‘India’s rich diversity at stake’

Participants at the Open Forum on ‘Democracy and Migration’ organised as part of the Loka Kerala Sabha in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.

Participants at the Open Forum on ‘Democracy and Migration’ organised as part of the Loka Kerala Sabha in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.  

CAA and NRC take centre stage at Loka Kerala Sabha open forum

The raging debate over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) resonated at the second Loka Kerala Sabha summit on Thursday.

Many delegates expressed concern over the possible ramifications that these could have on migrants at an open forum on ‘Indian Democracy and Migration’ that was organised at the Legislative Assembly Complex on the sidelines of the summit.

Absurd endeavour

A vehement critic of the Centre’s attempts to redefine citizenship, poet K. Satchidanandan said that while the country’s rich diversity has always remained its strength, the prevailing scenario threatened to weaken its unity. He also opined that the endeavour to determine citizenship was absurd, considering that the country comprised a population with high levels of genetic diversity.

“No country can boast of comprising the original inhabitants alone. While civilisations had never pursued efforts to identify indigenous communities, the idea of citizenship came into being after the formation of nation-states,” he said.

Joining other cultural icons and prominent leaders who have vowed not to cooperate with the NRC exercise, Prof. Satchidanandan called for launching a non-cooperation movement against the Centre’s efforts in line with the non-violent freedom struggle that had been led by Mahatma Gandhi.

Condemned

Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty condemned efforts to divide the population on the basis of culture.

“While lines drawn on maps could define the borders of a nation, no borders could be created for cultures, a confluence of which had come to be known as India. We must not repeat the Partition of 1947, the greatest tragedy the world has ever seen, which resulted in the loss of the lives of over 10 lakh people. The time has come to introspect on how we have reached a point in which we were required to prove our citizenship in a country that is known the greatest torch-bearer of culture in the world,” he lamented.

Senior journalist Venkitesh Ramakrishnan, who moderated the discussion, feared that the detention camps that were expected to come up in various parts of the country will ultimately become labour camps for capitalist forces. He added that Dalits, tribespeople and marginalised groups were likely to be severely affected with the implementation of the CAA.

In an apparent reference to criticisms raised against the conduct of the Loka Kerala Sabha, Kerala Non-Resident Keralites’ Welfare Board chairman P.T. Kunji Muhammed said that efforts to stitch together a collective of migrants must never be opposed, considering the instrumental role played by the Malayali diaspora in the all-round development of the State. NRKs must never be isolated from the decision-making process, he remarked.

Democracy stable

Former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan said that the country has been witnessing the problem of migration owing to various factors such as faith, poverty and employment. Nevertheless, democracy remained stable in India at a time when democracy has withered away in several neighbouring countries, he opined.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:15:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/indias-rich-diversity-at-stake/article30464473.ece

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