Letters

An insensitive push

 

Despite the increasing opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) from large sections of people across the nation, it is sheer arrogance on the part of Home Minister Amit Shah to push his agenda, unmindful of the people’s concerns (Front page, “CAA will stay despite protests: Shah,” Jan. 22). He continues to mislead by telling that the CAA is for ‘granting citizenship’, not for ‘taking it away’. This sounds right only if taken at face value. While Mr. Shah has repeatedly stated that the NRC will be implemented across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has denied that there was even a discussion on such a move. Now, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has also said that there is no question of extending the NRC to the entire country. Whom should we believe? Why has the government created all this turmoil and confusion over a wasteful exercise, if not for the sole purpose of diverting attention from the more pressing problems?

R. Fernandez,

Bengaluru

Nobody expected the Supreme Court to stay the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). And it did not, on the presumption that the law passed by Parliament is constitutionally valid until it hears both the petitioners challenging its constitutionality and the Central government and finds it to be unconstitutional — ‘presumption’ being the operative word. Hence, it is no cause for the government to celebrate prematurely.

Before going ahead with the implementation of the CAA, the government will do well to remember the apex court’s observation that ‘nothing is irreversible’. When the Sabarimala case was referred to a larger Constitution Bench, the original ruling allowing entry of women of all ages into the temple was held in abeyance or at least its implementation was not favoured by the BJP even in the absence of any stay on the ruling. Similarly, the government can put on hold the implementation of the CAA till the apex court’s final ruling.

Home Minister Amit Shah has refused to make a gesture towards the opinion of the anti-CAA protesters and ruled out a repeal of the CAA. The CAA is underpinned by religious hatred and malice. Rightly or wrongly, we are afraid that the BJP as a Hindutva-oriented party is keener on denying citizenship to Muslims than giving citizenship to ‘non-Muslims’.

Perhaps the fear that Islam might attract more people to its fold and Muslims are not amenable to be graded in the caste hierarchy explains the visceral hatred for Islam and Muslims. Hindu religious texts sanctify human inequality on the basis of accident of birth, whereas Islam treats all humans as equals in the spiritual realm.

Critics of CAA plead the case for the inclusion of Muslims as the seventh religious group to make the law ‘religion-neutral’. Secular India cannot and should not discriminate between a Hindu from Pakistan, a Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar and a Sri Lanka refugee of any faith on granting citizenship.

Further, it is wrong to suppose that all humans are theists and insist that they should be theists adhering to certain faiths to be eligible for citizenship. Furthermore, it is not clear what will be the fate of the society’s rejects including those who wander around the streets uncared for. Most of ‘human flotsam and jetsam’ have no religion to own and proclaim for grant or denial of citizenship.

G. David Milton

Maruthancode, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

When the Bill came to Parliament, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) wholeheartedly supported in both the Houses of Parliament and the Bill became an Act. Now, the SAD has taken an unequivocal stand for the inclusion of Muslims. The party, through this double role, is fooling the people. Still, if it is serious about opposing the CAA, it needs to make its position clear in public and withdraw its Minister from the Union government without any delay. The party needs to also state in public why it supported the Bill initially if it found it to be anti-Muslim in character.

S.K. Khosla,

Chandigarh

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 8:33:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/an-insensitive-push/article30627733.ece

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