Letters

Mission Hindutva

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s push for a Hindutva political project through the Citizenship Amendment Act is antithetical to the principles of constitutional democracy. The new law makes citizenship contingent on religion and goes against the guiding values of our Constitution. Further, it could take away the demographic and ethnic diversity of North-Eastern States, besides exerting pressure on land and other resources. The BJP’s top brass has clearly misunderstood and misinterpreted the people’s mandate given to it as a licence to indulge in arbitrary decision-making. The social unrest and violent protests in Assam, West Bengal, Delhi and in other parts of the country should force the government to revisit and rethink the Act (Front page, “Violence hits Delhi over Citizenship law,” Dec. 16).

Nayakara Veeresha,

Bengaluru

Nearly 50 years ago, each of us paid an additional five paise while purchasing postcards and inland letters to support the lakhs of East Pakistanis who were pouring into our eastern States, escaping persecution from their military government. This support continued even after Bangladesh was formed, when not all of them returned. Religion did not block our gesture. The immigration of people did leave us with problems, but the governments of the day patiently addressed them. We did not become less secure or more poor in the years that followed. Neither did we nurse any sense of ill will or discrimination. What a change there has been in the past few decades in the values and beliefs of people in our country! Will the nation return someday to its founding principles?

M. Balakrishnan,

Bengaluru

No Act in the past 70 years has caused so much pandemonium. The massive protests by the students in about 15 universities across the nation, the unrest in the North-Eastern States and the assertion by some Chief Ministers, like in Punjab and Kerala, that they would not allow the implementation of the Act in their respective States are clear signs that all is not well with the new law. While Muslims are anguished that the BJP government is trying to ostracise the whole community, the Tamil refugees staying in Tamil Nadu fear that they will be declared as illegal immigrants. People in Assam, on the other hand, fear a loss of identity. CPI leader D. Raja rightly observed that we are witnessing a civil war-like situation.

Syed Sultan Mohiddin,

Kagithalapenta, Andhra Pradesh

We deplore and condemn the police brutality unleashed on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University protesting the amended citizenship law based on religion. The right to protest is intrinsic to a democracy. A democratic government cannot stymie protests or use force to put them down just because they are registered over a decision taken or a law passed to implement the ruling party’s agenda. The visuals of students walking with their arms raised made disturbing viewing. The police cannot equate protesting students with criminals and barge into hostels and libraries, switch the lights off and thrash the students in darkness. Students do not exist for the police to give vent to their aggressive instincts and please their political masters. The widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, decried as an affront to the Constitution as it links citizenship with religion, should awaken the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo to the realisation that Indian democracy is bigger than them and they cannot polarise people and pit community against community along religious lines ad infinitum. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark that ‘they can be identified by the clothes they are wearing’ is unbecoming of the holder of India’s most exalted office. There are no prizes for guessing for which ‘noun’ the pronoun ‘they’ is used. The roles of Prime Minister and an avowed Hindu nationalist are in conflict with each other. Reneging on his call for a ten-year moratorium on ‘communal politics’ to create the necessary conditions for the pursuit of economic progress, his government is taking steps one after the other engendering social strife. Sadly, it does not occur to the Modi government that a country divided against itself cannot aspire to become a superpower and an economic power house. A climate of fear, insecurity and uncertainty spells a bleak future for all of us. We want India to stay secular; we don’t want our country to be converted into a Hindu Rashtra in which religious minorities are treated as second-class citizens. We urge the government to repeal the new RSS-inspired Hindutva citizenship law for the sake of national unity, if for nothing else.

G. David Milton

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

The Prime Minister and his party have lost the plot on the real issues that impact the people of our country. They blame the Congress Party’s past policies for just about everything, from the bank scams, the state of the economy today, Article 370, the present spontaneous protests all over the country, as an instigation of the Congress. They say that everything is normal and peaceful in Jammu and Kashmir but refuse to allow politicians from other parties to go there; neither do they release the detained politicians. The only thing they have not blamed the Opposition on is the price of onions. Have they blamed the Congress for the protests outside Indian missions in other countries as yet? Maybe they should just resign and leave it to the Congress to sort out the mess.

Hemachandra Basappa,

Bengaluru

For a government that swept elections with a majority, twice in a row, the regime surely doesn’t act like one! Citizenship issue has always been a sensitive matter for the people of Assam. No wonder, a spark of dissent was ignited as soon as the Bill was passed in Lok Sabha. What started as a peaceful march turned violent with the wink of an eye. Internet is still cut-off and curfew is still imposed throughout numerous places in the State along with other neighbouring states. Three innocent lives have been lost so far. The State is on a verge of a liquidity crunch, studies and examinations have been hampered and day-to-day lives are far from normal. When does it end? Hope the chaos don’t plummet and make way for another Assam Andolan, which paralysed Assam between 1979 and 1985.

Gangotri Kaushik,

Bengaluru

Thousands of students protesting at Jamia Milia Islamic have been treated with brutality treated by the police, who entered the campus without permission and also lathi charged them, apart from firing tear-gas. The primary duty of the police is to protect people and maintain peace. The incidents show that the country does not care for the interest of its own minorities. The Bill itself violates the secular idea of India.

Ashok Naik,

Bengaluru

 

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 6:43:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/mission-hindutva/article30323735.ece

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