CAA has largely been presented as the implementation of multiple decisions taken in the history, starting right from the partition. In this context, can you give us an insight into the historical aspect of CAA?
The historical background The historical background that Mr. Amit Shah has been giving, proves that he is rewriting history and is selectively misinterpreting history to suit his own present day political agenda. History is basically- Ithihas, meaning ‘Thus, it was’. However, through Mr. Shah’s version of history he is enforcing what he says is history. For example, in his entire debate he has highlighted partition as being performed on religious grounds, however, what he fails to understand is that partition happened 3 years before the Constitution of India came into force.
CAA is the response of a politically tainted will which proves to disconnect Nehru, Congress party and show that what the current governmenmt is doing is something superior. While largely associating the Congress party during the partition, what he fails or rather deliberately misses to note is that other eminent persons like Sardar Vallabhai Patel and BR Ambedkar were also party to partition who agreed to partition, largely because of the tensed environment created by the RSS and Hindu Maha Sabha and the Muslim League during that point. Therefore, Mr. Shah has been deliberatively misreading and misinterpreting history, on a selective basis.
Students, citizen groups and common people from different walks of life have become the face of protests emerging across the country. What do you think is the role of political parties in fuelling protests, in this regard, across the country?
This should remain the protest of common people. Political parties should stay away from making any actions of politicising the show of protest because the moment it becomes politicised, the cause becomes vitiated. People’s anger should come out such that the government should see that this is not a Congress initiated protest or AAP initiated protest. The government should see this spontaneous expression of genuine people’s anger and disagreement to the decision. Every political party would definitely like to advantage of the situation but I personally feel that this protest should not be politicised and let this remain the movement of students, scholars, intellectuals and the common people. This is the voice of common citizens and let this remain the same.
CAA has emerged to pour in some amount of mass fear in the country. How would you like to interpret the creation of mass fear?
CAA has instilled deep rooted fears among the citizens of the country. Fear is not only because of the CAA, it is largely because of the possibility of NRC following CAA. CAA and NRC are two sides of the same coin. Around 19 lac people who have been residing in the Assam have become victims of the NRC with its Assam chapter alone. There are huge numbers of people who have been detained in detention camps because of the lack of pieces of paper. This is absolutely ridiculous. Therefore, the fear, people's fear and anger projects the issue of distrust with the government.
With the underlying situation, do you think we have reached the point of a national call for emergency?
We are already living in the era of an undeclared emergency. The current government responds harshly to criticisms. Media houses are shut for criticising, police enters institutes and also into the library, income tax officers come to your door step, etc. This proves that we are in an undeclared emergency. At least in 1975, emergency was declared. But this government will never declare emergency because they will keep the premier of democracy and behind that they will indulge in all emergency-related activities, as we are seeing.
According to the constitution of India, how is citizenship defined and what is being threatened with the introduction of CAA?
The constitution of India defines citizenship on the basis of territory and naturalisation. However, it is clear that religion will not be the basis for citizenship. This is the very notion that makes CAA unconstitutional. I have challenged CAA in the Supreme Court which is due for hearing on January 22.
Here, fundamentally, it violates the Article 14 of the constitution among other articles. This is the first time that religion is being used as a tool for determining citizenship.
What makes you feel that this is largely based on religion?
Why is it only directed to the minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh? Why are the Tamilians of Sri Lanka, Christians of Bhutan, Ahmedias, Baluchis, the Pathans, Rohingyas, etc not included? Here is the political agenda. This translates to the intention for polarising the domestic society on religious grounds. The three listed countries are Islamic countries and the others like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan etc., are all non-Islamic countries.
Sec 144 has been imposed in certain parts of the country. Can this be viewed as an authority over democratic practises of the country?
This is a clear expression of oppression of citizens’ rights. Bangalore, for example was undertaking non-violent projection of showing solidarity against CAA. But this non-violent expression was also oppressed. This should not be encouraged.
What do you think would be India’s journey with CAA and NRC?
Following CAA would mostly be NRC. This will however, take some time. BJP’s allies themselves are having differences in stances. I hope that Supreme Court puts an end to CAA and NRC. This is the only hope. NRC in Assam…removal of Art. 370… CAA… the next possible step would be to firmly bring in Uniform Civil Code.
To bring about a change, a disenchantment with Mr Modi should be used to convert it to enchantment with us....