Other States

Citizenship law a politically motivated and ideologically biased decision, says MKSS

A flame torchlight procession protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act.

A flame torchlight procession protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

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It will also fuel the growing State-sanctioned anti-Muslim sentiment, it says

Rajasthan-based Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) has condemned the recent passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament saying it compromises the integrity of democracy and promotes a “RSS-driven pro-Hindutva agenda”. It said the exclusion of Muslims was an insult to the intent of the Constitution.

“The deliberate exclusion of the Muslim community and enabling the expedited citizenship for others is a politically motivated and ideologically biased decision that will also fuel the growing State-sanctioned anti-Muslim sentiment in the country,” said the MKSS in a statement released here on Sunday. The Bill was a planned and blatant violation of equality of all religions, it added.

The voluntary group, which works among the peasants and labourers in the villages of central Rajasthan, said the legislation justified communal division, beginning with the granting of citizenship by naturalisation to all major non-Muslim groups on “humanitarian grounds”.

The signatories to the statement were MKSS founder member and Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy and activists Shankar Singh and Nikhil Dey, who are also members of the group.

The MKSS said the justification offered by the government that many persons of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities had faced persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh was a “flawed logic”, as there were persecuted minority communities within the broad religious groups in every country.

“A refugee policy cannot be selective to either country or religious communities. The Indian State’s treatment of the Rohingya Muslims is a clear demonstration of the flaws of this policy and the hypocrisy of the government’s claim,” said the MKSS.

The MKSS asked on what basis could the BJP claim concern for persecuted refugees if it disallowed the Rohingyas from seeking shelter and asylum in India. “The BJP’s motivation is clearly rooted in its partisan vote bank politics. The consequences of destroying social harmony and constitutional principles seem to find no space within its concerns.”

The “pernicious amendment” had created an obvious category of a persecuted and discriminated minority, with the sanction of the State for the first time in India’s constitutional history, said the three activists. “This is a tragedy of immense proportions... The BJP is squarely to blame for initiating legalised discrimination and injustice.”

Spearheaded by the RSS-backed BJP, the passing of the CAB was yet another indication of the intentional dismantling of democratic rights and institutions, and the targeting of particular groups and communities, said the MKSS, adding that this was in continuation of the unconstitutional abrogation of Article 370 and the arbitrary and dangerous decision to extend the NRC process to the whole country.

The MKSS announced that it would fight for the reversal of the decision and protection of the secular nature of the Constitution and the State. The group expressed the hope that the Supreme Court would not allow the basic structure of the Constitution to be undermined and said it stood in solidarity with all persons finding themselves alienated and discriminated against by the legislation.

The MKSS, which had earlier spearheaded a campaign for right to information, also expressed solidarity with all secular, democratic and progressive forces in their struggle to protect the plurality and multicultural heritage of the country. Mr. Dey said the MKSS would join the struggle to reverse the legislation and keep up the fight to save the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:12:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/citizenship-law-a-politically-motivated-and-ideologically-biased-decision-says-mkss/article30312003.ece

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