CAA-NRC-NPR, part of Hindutva project: N. Ram

N. Ram, Chairman THG Publishing Pvt. Ltd.. speaking at the inaugural session of the two-day Mumbai Collective, in Mumbai on February 1, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

N. Ram, Chairman of The Hindu Group Publishing Private Limited, said on Saturday that it would be a serious mistake to see the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register as a mere distraction from the current economic crisis. He said it was part of the larger Hindutva project being pushed by the BJP government.

He made the remarks at the inaugural session of the two-day Mumbai Collective, during a panel discussion, on the ‘Rising Tide in Indian Politics’, with Prof. Gopal Guru, Editor of the Economic and Political Weekly.

‘Serious mistake’

“We would be making a serious mistake if we see this as merely a diversionary tactic because this is a project that they long had in mind. This is a project of Hindutva,” Mr. Ram said. He highlighted that the citizenship issue had never been part of the debates in the Constituent Assembly and had only featured in the debates post partition, when Hindus who had come from Pakistan were labelled refugees, but Muslims who went to Pakistan and came back were called migrants and were treated with suspicion by several members of the Constituent Assembly.

Prof. Guru said the protests were producing a new kind of politics and giving a new dimension to politics. “They are actually bringing us back into the close relationship with the Constitution. That is the constitutional consciousness we are getting from these protests,” he said. Hardly anyone used to discuss the Constitution a few months ago.

The panel was chaired by Irfan Engineer of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism. He said the incidents of communal violence had come down, but that wasn’t a good thing because structured communal violence was being perpetrated by the state.

Mr. Ram said it needed to be seen whether the current wave of protests against the CAA-NRC-NPR was truly a rising tide or a reaction. “At the end of the day, I am very optimistic about what is ahead. There is nothing for us to lose. We have to go ahead without doubts, without inhibition, while adhering to the completely peaceful nature of this mass upsurge,” he said.

He urged the audience to read debates on the Constitution, especially the last speech of B.R. Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly, wherein he highlighted the importance of equality, liberty and fraternity and how the three could not be divorced from each other. “The relationship [among the three] goes to the heart of the present political situation, the upsurge we are talking about.”

Calling the NRC in Assam a horror story, he said that of the nearly 1.9 million people omitted from the list, around 1.2 million were Hindus; this was the real problem for the BJP. “Amit Shah, before and after he became Home Minister, went on record that this was going to be a nationwide project,” Mr Ram said. He also quoted the BJP’s manifesto to say the party would implement a pan-India NRC.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 5:18:17 AM |

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