Protests over amendment to Citizenship Act

Dr. C. Sadasiva

The North-East is boiling with people there on the streets protesting over the ill-thought out amendment to the Citizenship Act. It is not just the people of north-eastern states but all the democratic and secular minded people of India are genuinely concerned at the way the amendment was brought about which goes against the basic spirit of our Constitution.
Nation State as a concept evolved in Europe and with Bismark unifying German people, the concept started turning into a reality. American and French revolutions further consolidated the process. Nations emerged gradually all over the world and this process gained rapid momentum with the decolonization and dismantling of erstwhile imperialist regimes. Protest over Amendment to Citizenship Act Along with nations came the concept of citizen and conditions for being recognised as a citizen in a given nation.
Well, the very recent case of Choksi becoming a citizen of a far away country brought to light that one can even ‘buy’ citizenship in some countries and perhaps if one is rich enough one may become citizen of one or two such countries simultaneously. But by and large this is not the case with a large number of countries in the world.
There are definite conditions, rules and processes involved in granting citizenship to those who seek or in resolving any dispute regarding one’s citizenship. In our country we have one case of natural citizenship. All those who are born in this country have a natural claim to be citizens of our country irrespective of one’s religion, caste, gender or race. Then there is the case of people who come as migrants for various reasons and opt for various reasons sometimes beyond their own control. In this case too, while deciding to grant or not to grant citizenship to any one, his/her religion is not at all a consideration in principle and as per the law.
The Modi government is trying to change the very secular character of this principle by introducing the religion as a criterion. Shamelessly Amit Shah announced in a public rally in Bengal that Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhists have no threat to their safety and security in our country. He very carefully and deliberately avoided mentioning Muslims in that list. The sinister intentions of communal fascist RSS-BJP regime thus became very clear in the attempt to amend the Citizenship Act.
Naturally people of north-eastern states are angry. All these states are inhabited by people with distinct and unique cultural and ethnic characters. And very naturally they are keen to preserve and protect that uniqueness and the whole country recognises this unity in diversity as famously put by Jawaharlal Nehru. By safeguarding the diversity only the unity of our country can be secured.
The Communist Party of India strongly opposed the ugly and sinister act of BJP communal fascist government. In Parliament the CPI demanded that the proposed amendment should be sent to a select committee. It also sought wide public debate on the issue.
CPI in Manipur is leading a massive struggle against the amendment. CPI national council secretary D Raja MP visited Manipur and addressed a massive public protest. He said categorically that the amendment is against the very basic secular spirit of the Constitution of India and goes against the vision of India as envisioned by Gandhi, Nehru and B R Ambedkar. (IPA)

Wednesday, 6 February, 2019