The aggressiveness of the attacks on any criticisms against the government as anti-national has intensified sharply, especially after Modi-2 took over. Governments are elected by the people. According to the Constitution, the people and their fundamental rights enshrined in it are supreme. So, people have full right to criticize all actions of the government. Nobody has right to attack it as anti-national. Whoever does it should be charged for anti-constitutional crime. After Modi-2 arbitrarily abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution and for the first time downgraded a state to two union territories, , these jingoistic, intolerant attacks by those in power, their pracharaks and boot lickers on the affected people as well as on anyone criticizing the arbitrary action by the government and the clampdown over people of Kashmir valley are attacked as agents of Pakistan!. A major section of media is hysterically spreading this venom. As the Supreme Court, the uppermost constitutional authority which has right to interpret the Constitution and express validity of the 5th August action by the Modi-2 remained silent for three weeks even after many petitions were received challenging the government action, there was anxiety among the democratic forces. But on 28th August, even after the Attorney General and Solicitor General repeatedly expressed the government’s advise for everyone to maintain restraint, the decision taken by it to hear all pleas against government action by a Constitution Bench from the beginning of October is a welcome step.
All leaders of Modi-2 and RSS parivar claim that J&K is India’s property! First of all they should accept the basic principles. The United Nations’ Human Rights Declaration itself declare that all nations have the right of self determination. A country or nation is a community of people, not just a geographical entity. Indian Constitution declares India is a federal country, not a nation; Bharat Desh, not Bharat Rashtru. The unity of this federal India is based on the unity of the peoples of various nationalities who decided to continue their unity based on the ethos created by the anti-imperialist independence struggle and based on their right of self determination! RSS parivar’s Akhand Bharat existed only in the pages of Vedas, Upnishads and epics. None of the emperors from Asoka to Mugals could unite all the areas in the sub-continent. The credit for forcefully uniting the many hundreds of big or small princely states or subordinating them forming the British India goes to imperialist Britain! Even then they allowed many princely states to remain as their dependents within it. Same time there were some princely areas, J&K, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim and tribal areas in Northeast which could not be made part of British India; so they were outside.
British colonialists signed the instrument of transfer of power with leaders of India and Pakistan only covering the areas under direct British rule. According to the agreement, the princely states had the right to remain independent or join India or Pakistan signing their own agreements of accession. The governments of India and Pakistan succeeded to merge the princely states within their regions signing agreements with them. As far as J&K, Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim were concerned, as per the agreement, they had right to remain independent or merge with either India o Pakistan. But though the leaders of both India and Pakistan had assured that they will not act like the successor states of British colonialists with regard to redefining the boundaries and for the right of self determination of the these areas which were outside British India, soon both proved that they were not less chauvinist or expansionist than the colonial government. Indian government acted very fast and integrated Manipur and Nagaland using military force. In 1975, putting pressure over the king, India annexed Sikkim also. When J&K king Hari Singh wanted to maintain it as an independent country, initially both agreed to it. Pak government even signed such an agreement also with Hari Singh. But it soon changed its line, and tried to annex J&K using army. So Hari Singh sought military help of Indian government which agreed to assist him after an instrument of accession was signed, based on which the Article 370 of the Constitution was later adopted. As the UN interfered, it enforced ceasefire and a Line of Control, with both governments agreeing to withdraw their armed forces and hold a plebiscite for the people of J&K to decide their future. But, as both the governments were not for an independent J&K, both colluded and contended to abort the plebiscite and to keep the J&K divided and in horrific condition during the last seven decades. The imperialists were happy to keep this spot hot enough, so that they could continue their divide and control policy in the region, and loot fortunes by selling arms and equipments to both. In the interest of the ruling class and corrupt political class on both side, the governments were competing to whip up hatred with each other, arming themselves to the teeth and fighting three wars and indulging in continuous skirmishes, which has benefitted and fabulously enriched the corporate giants, while forcing the vast majority of the people on both side to terrific miseries and impoverishment!
Once the BJP, the political front of RSS which wants to make India a Hindurashtra, came to power, the scenario far worsened. If the very existence of Pakistan’s army and present corrupt political establishment and their hegemony over the people depends on raising the J&K question which they claim as their property and hatred against India, the Modi rule could become a reality and could come back to power by strengthening the majoritarian Hindutva, only by whipping up Islamophobia and hate Pakistan campaign every minute. If Pakistan is already in acute economic crisis, India is also caught in the vortex of recession and slow down. As the imperialists, especially US imperialists want to overcome their own economic problems and inter-imperialist rivalry with China by using these junior partners smartly, they promote. jingoism on both sides. The conflict between India and Pakistan is bound to reach unprecedented levels, especially after the arbitrary moves of Modi-2, at the peril of the people of J&K and in India!
And now this contradiction has reached such a dangerous level that India’s defense minister announcing possibility for re-thinking on ‘no first use’ of nuclear arms. It is reciprocated by the Pak prime minister announcing his preparedness even for a nuclear war! On 28th August Pakistan test fired a ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear arms. One Pak minister talked about war breaking out in October. It is reciprocated by India’s defense minister declaring not only J&K, even the areas beyond Line of Control are integral part of India! On both sides, the jingoistic forces and corporate media are busy in whipping up hatred against each other and war hysteria, while Trump and company are enjoying the game played by Imran and Modi!
In this dangerous situation, it is the right of the people to talk boldly and correctly: J&K is not the property of the reactionary governments of either Pakistan or India. Its future should be decided by the people of J&K through a plebiscite or referendum after withdrawing the army from both sides of the Line of Control. In order to achieve this we should create public opinion to demand repealing of the arbitrary action of 5th August by Modi-2, withdrawal of the army to barracks , and immediate withdrawal of the curfew and clampdown from the whole region. If a nuclear war is unleashed by the religious fundamentalist and the fascistic, the war mongering governments on both sides, it will be catastrophic for the whole South Asian region; so all progressive forces in this region should mobilize the peoples of the whole region to condemn this jingoism and work for building up anti-imperialist unity against their reactionary governments with the vision of a South Asian People’s Unity!
We appeal to all struggling forces to come together and demand the withdrawal of all suppressive acts of the fascist Modi-2 in J&K! Let us demand bilateral discussion between both governments to politically resolve the J&K problem based on the right of self determination of the people of J&K! Expose and oppose the war mongering of both governments and create public opinion against a nuclear war which will be catastrophic to people of not only to people of both countries, but also of whole of South Asia! Just because BJP’s or any other government is in power, we are not its slaves, we have the right to expose and oppose its anti-people deeds! Oppose and resist the barbarous policy of Modi-2 and RSS parivar dubbing all their critics as anti-national! We are the patriots who oppose imperialists of all hues and stand for genuine secular democratic federal India, while Modi-2 and RSS parivar are imperialist stooges who preach Akhand Bharat, but disintegrate country through their divisive Brahmanical manuvadi Hindurashtra! Intensify the struggle for people’s federal India, for unity of people of South Asia!
CPI(ML) Red Star
Modi-2 Plans Publication of NRC in Assam, Followed by All India NPR based on the communal amendments in the bill before Rajya Sabha to be, followed by Detention Camps for millions who lose citizenship! Should We Not React?
Comrades and Compatriots,
- According to reports, about four million people, mostly Muslims, living presently in Assam for many years are going to lose citizenship in the NCR for Assam to be released in its final form on 31st According to BJP governments at centre and in Assam, this NRC is now finalized including the names of those persons (or their descendants) in the NRC, 1951, or in any of the ElectoralRolls up to the midnight of 24 March 1971, or in any one of the other admissible documents issued up to mid-night of 24 March 1971, which would prove their presence in Assam or in any part of India on or before 24 March 1971. Those 4 million who may lose citizenship will get 120 days more for presenting their appeal to the Foreigners Tribunals for reconsideration.
- The Citizenship Act of 1955, a result of the freedom movement recognized that every person who was born in India, irrespective of religion, would be eligible for Indian citizenship. Another method of obtaining citizenship was through descent – if either parent was a citizen of India. A third method of obtaining citizenship was by registration. A person who has been staying in India for one year or seven years (depending upon whether she or he is of Indian origin or not, broadly), could apply for being registered as a citizen. Among the other methods of obtaining citizenship was the method of naturalization. A person who had stayed in India for over 11 years was eligible of applying for becoming a citizen under it. The law for registration and naturalization was applicable to all persons from all countries and all religions. However, it was made clear that “illegal migrants” would not be eligible for citizenship. The Citizenship Act of 1955 defines “illegal migrant” as a person who enters India without a proper visa or other valid travel document or, who, having entered with a valid document or visa, stays beyond the time permitted for stay in such a visa.
- The BJP government moved the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016 whose Statement of Objects and Reasons says (excerpted):
Under the existing provisions of the Act, persons belonging to the minority communities, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who have either entered into India without valid travel documents or the validity of their documents have expired are regarded as illegal migrants and hence ineligible to apply for Indian citizenship. It is proposed to make them eligible for applying for Indian citizenship.
Many persons of Indian origin including persons belonging to the aforesaid minority communities from the aforesaid countries have been applying for citizenship under section 5 of the Act, but are unable to produce proof of their Indian origin. Hence, they are forced to apply for citizenship by naturalization under section 6 of the Act, which, inter alia, prescribes twelve years residency as qualification for naturalization in terms of the Third Schedule to the Act. This denies them many opportunities and advantages that may accrue only to the citizens of India, even though they are likely to stay in India permanently. It is proposed to amend the Third Schedule to the Act to make applicants belonging to minority communities from the aforesaid countries eligible for citizenship by naturalization in seven years instead of the existing twelve years.
But, while the bill explains that the sections mentioned above shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act, nothing is said about the minorities like Muslims, or among the Muslims, the Bohri’s, Khojas and Ahmeddiyas, who are persecuted even in Muslim countries.
- The preamble of our constitution calls for a secular country, whatever may be the meaning of secularism. Article 15 of the constitution of India prevents the discrimination, by the state, against any citizen of India on the basis of religion. It is clear that the proposed law is against the right to equality and the right against discrimination given by the constitution. These amendments to the citizenship law are communally conceptualized. It puts forward an abstract notion of a religious Hindu state, not one conforming with the existing modern reality, Article 25 specifically states that “every person” will have the right to freely “profess, practice and propagate religion”. These amendments show BJP government’s intention to follow Israel, the only country which allows citizenship on the basis of religion. This too is not on the basis of “naturalization” but on the basis of the unique “right of return”, a special Israeli law. All Jews have the right to return to the “promised land” In fact, the true intentions behind the new citizenship amendments put forward under Modi regime is to establish the “right of return” to an “Akhand Bharat” of the RSS. They would like the whole of the sub-continent to become a part of a great Hindu nation. Unable to come close to it or even to justify it, they had given it a back seat to this rhetoric for long. The proposed amendment to the citizenship law is the first stirring for bringing back this archaic and unjust concept.
- In this bill there is also a threat to the diasporas. The Government is given the right to cancel the “overseas citizen of India” status of any person if they violate any law of India. That means that an OCI card can be cancelled if they do anything against the liking of RSS parivar.
- This Citizenship (Amendment) Bill for amending the 1955 Citizenship Act was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 19 2016. It was referred to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on August 12 2016. The JPC submitted its Report on January 7, 2019, and the Lok Sabha passed it on January 8. But it is not yet passed by the Rajya Sabha. 2 is planning to pass it in the Rajya Sabha at the earliest, or if this is not possible, bypassing the legal aspects involved including the convening of a joint session of the parliament. This bill is for granting citizenship to migrants on communal basis (from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan) including Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian and totally excluding Muslims. Against this, in 2016 itself violent protests took place in Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, alleging that the bill is going to make these states dumping grounds for the migrants.
- In its Election Manifesto BJP had called for updating the National People’s Register based on the amendments proposed in the bill in a time bound manner as is done to NCR for Assam, to throw out all illegal migrants from India as Amit Shaw announced in parliament and later repeated in the president’s speech on the eve of 15th In accordance with this plan, the MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR GENERAL CITIZEN REGISTRATION, INDIA) has issued the NOTIFICATION of 31st July, 2019, S.O. 2753(E), in THE GAZETTE OF INDIA : EXTRAORDINARY [PART II—SEC. 3(ii) which states;—“In pursuance of sub-rule(4) of rule 3 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, the Central Government hereby decides to prepare and update the Population Register and the field work for house to house enumeration throughout the country except Assam for collection of information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of Local Registrar shall be undertaken between the 1st day of April, 2020 to 30th September, 2020”.
- If this amendment bill is passed and it becomes an act, and NPR process is taken up based on it with the aim of driving out all migrants, it is apprehended that almost 20 to 30 million people, who are presently staying in India, may lose citizenship. It is already announced by home minister and Assam government that Detention Camps will be constructed soon and all those who have lost citizenship shall be shifted to these Camps once the final NCR list for Assam is announced on 31st If the same process is continued at all India level, more than two crores of people will be pushed inside these Detention Camps. They will be almost like the Concentration Camps built by Nazi government in Germany for the jews from the end of 1930s. This is going to be an enormous and explosive issue, the magnitude of it and the reaction to be organized against it are probably never discussed seriously in an organized form.
- Friends, so, our appeal is that we should wage a consistent struggle against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and all proposals to carry out determination of citizenship based on it; we should put forward our proposals based on the 1955 Citizenship Act. Understanding the existing communalized situation, we have to adopt a proper democratic stand on this subject. For wide discussion among the democratic forces, we are putting forward the following proposals as the eligibility criteria for citizenship:
- Any person born in India must be eligible for the citizenship of India. This was the case till the 1986 act and is the case in many countries all over the world including in the USA.
- Any person either of whose parents who were citizens of India must be eligible for citizenship. This should also apply if either of the parents were eligible for citizenship though it was never taken.
- Any person who is resident in India for 5 years and who intends to stay for a further five years should be eligible for citizenship. This is the period which is considered for citizenship by registration. Right now naturalization requires 12 years of stay in India. Both can be taken on the same criterion.
- Any refugee who is fleeing from oppression, or whose democratic rights are not being protected in the country from which they are fleeing, should be eligible for some form of right to stay in India leading eventually to citizenship (say giving residential permits to such refugees for 3 years at the end of which they become eligible for citizenship).
1o. We should demand that the Foreigners Tribunals should decide citizenship of all those who have lost it in the NCR of Assam published on 31st August based on this criteria. And the proposed NPR from 1st April to 30th September also should be based on it. We are putting forward these proposals for wide circulation and open discussions. so that a consensus opinion can be arrived at and the campaign for creating public opinion can be launched.
What is urgently required is arriving at a consensus on these proposals as early as possible and arriving at the broadest possible unity of all who agree with the finalized proposals. Then we can strive for creating maximum possible public opinion for it and demand even a referendum, if necessary, on it. Recognizing the seriousness of the issue, let us take it up as a challenge. Please send your responses and suggestions to the email or post addresses given below. For speeding up the process and to involve more sections in this process we suggest state level meeting of the like-minded forces as soon as possible so that we can decentralize our move.
KN Ramachandran, GS, CPI(ML) Red Star.
Central Office: C – 141, Sainik Nagar, New Delhi – 110059