What is NRC
Join the Mighty upsurge spreading fast, Challenging Hindutva Fascists!
Boycott CAA and NPR/NRC, Intensify the countrywide people’s upsurge!
The mighty upsurge sweeping the country has shattered many myths, shaken the society and challenged the RSS parivar. The No to CAA, No to NPR/NRC movement spearheaded by students, youth and women, with massive participation by minorities, especially Muslims, oppressed sections including dalits, Adivasis, and other backward sections, along with the workers and peasantry, is developing innovative forms of resistance like the massive mobilization of women at Shaheen Bagh under the banner “Women Against Fascism” which is spreading fast to hundreds of centers all over the country. It has shattered many myths and it is intensifying as a countrywide mass upsurge.
It was in early August, when Amit Shah was arrogantly moving fast, amending RTI, UAPA…etc, scrapping Article 370 reducing J&K in to two Union Territories, imposing clamp down turning the Kashmir valley in to an open prison, getting a verdict from the captive Supreme Court transferring the 2.77 acres of land where the Babri Masjid stood to the very same criminals who demolished it for building the Ram temple, replacing the hitherto labour laws with four labour codes as the corporate wanted etc, the news about proposed reintroduction of Constitution (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in the Winter Session of parliament, and about the Home Ministry’s Circular dated 31st July on starting the National Population Register (NPR) from 1st April to 30th September as the first step towards preparing the countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC), similar to the Assam NRC going to be published on 31st August, came out. The RSS parivar leaders and BJP ministers had already started announcing the immediate extension of the NRC process all over the country. Reports of the death of few inmates of the Detention Camps in Assam and suicide by people from the border districts of W. Bengal, where BJP was creating atmosphere of insecurity among the poorer sections, were coming out. Some of the ruling class parties in the opposition, like the TMC in W. Bengal, had also started coming out against NRC. Still, the panic was spreading.
Recognizing the danger, CPI(ML) Red Star studied the new developments around NRC, prepared the following appeal and sent to all communist revolutionary (CR) forces, democrats and progressive individuals on 25th August, 2019:
Proposal for Joint Move On Citizenship Question
from CPI(ML) Red Star, on 25th August.
Modi-2 Plans Publication of NRC in Assam, Followed by All India NPR based on the communal amendments in the Citizenship (Amendments) 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 August. 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 Electoral Rolls 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, but 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. Modi.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 August. 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 Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB)is passed and it becomes an act, and the NPR process is taken up based on it with the aim of driving out all migrants, it is apprehended that at least 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 NRC list for Assam is announced on 31st August. 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).
We should demand that the Foreigners Tribunals should decide citizenship of all those who have lost it in the NRC of Assam to be 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 esponses 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.(Appeal from CPI(ML) Red Star)
When the announcement of the NRC/Assam came out on 31st August, as apprehended, 19,06,657 people were declared stateless including even some prominent citizens or their family members like that of a former union president. These people were given four months to get clearance from the Foreigners’ Tribunals. Otherwise they will be sent to Detention Camps. The reports published in the social media, left publications and many portals, explains the ordeal the people had to gone through in Assam for three years during the NPR/NRC process, speeded up by the Modi govt and presided by the then chief justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi. The more than 19 lakh people declared included about 5 lakhs Muslims and large number from the large spectrum called Hindus, including more than one lakh Nepalese, Bengali Hindus, aboriginals and descendants of those oppressed sections brought from Bihar and Jharkhand by the British as plantation workers. In spite of throwing such a large number of people in to miserable situation, not satisfied with it, the BJP, whose governments at centre and in the state spearheaded the preparation of this list, employing 50,000 people for three years spending Rs. 1,200 crores, rejected it and called for another NRC in Assam to declare more Muslims from the border districts stateless. The horrific nature of this project and its heinous intentions got further exposed, as the RSS/BJP plans to make crores of people suspected citizens during the house to house survey to be held from 1st April to 30th September, 2020, for the NPR as per the first amendment to the 1955 Citizenship Act adopted by parliament in 2003 during the Vajpayee government. If the documents demanded by the Foreigners’ Tribunals are not presented in stipulated time, these suspected citizens will become stateless and thrown in to Detention Camps, as no neighboring countries are going to receive them.
What are the RSS plans?
The RSS as per its Hindurashtra program wants to prepare a citizenship register based on its concept that India is the homeland of whom it calls Hindus. Its move to determine the citizenship of Indian people anew through Modi government raises two cardinal questions: Firstly, the preamble of our Constitution calls for a secular country. Whatever may be the meaning of secularism, it certainly cannot be the favoring of any religion over any other. It also certainly cannot mean the favoring of religious persons over atheists. Article 15 of the constitution of India prevents the discrimination, by the state, against any citizen of India on the basis of religion. Though it was passed into law, it violates of Article 15. It is clear that the proposed CAB is against the right to equality and the right against discrimination given by the Constitution. As with most laws proposed by religious fundamentalists, these amendments to the citizenship law starting from the 2003 Amendment are communally conceptualized. It puts forward an abstract notion of a religious Hindutva state, not one conforming with the existing modern reality. The law fails to see that our Constitution allows freedom of religion (as do most constitutions in the world – even those of religious countries). That is, people are free to convert to whatever religion they choose, whenever they choose to do so. When Article 15 guarantees every citizen a right against discrimination, it also guarantees that he will not be discriminated against in his right to convert or to follow the religion of his choice. Further, Article 25 specifically states that “every person” will have the right to freely “profess, practice and propagate religion”.
Secondly, most countries recognize citizenship by blood. In this, the progeny of citizens have a right to be citizens. Many countries, including India also recognize citizenship of the soil. Under this any person born in the territory of a country has a right to be a citizen. Most countries also have a right to citizenship by naturalization. The most common conditions for naturalization are a certain period of residence in the country concerned, knowledge of the language, acceptance of the laws of the country, etc. There is a big debate nowadays on the question of acquisition of citizenship. This has been sparked because today we live in a world with a larger amount of refugees than ever before. However, even with all the Islamophobia prevalent in Europe and the USA, no law (not even by Trump, who made a law to separate children from their parents and put them in cages) has ever been made allowing selective citizenship to certain religions alone among refugees. It must be noted that the countries of Western Europe and the USA are “religious” countries. Their laws recognize some form of Christianity as the official religion. India, on the other hand is a secular, democratic and socialist republic and proud of being one. But, according to the Law as amended in 2016, the Rohingyas will be sent back to Myanmar to be massacred.
The only country which allows citizenship on the basis of religion is Israel. 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 amendment adopted 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 in their rhetoric for long. The proposed 2016 amendment to the citizenship law is the first stirring for bringing back this archaic and unjust concept. Like Hitler’s concepts, it is not just fascist but also presages the advent of a more aggressive drive for Hindutva and Akhand Bharat.. All in all it was proposal for a black law
Contrary to these RSS concepts, the 1955 Citizenship Act reflected the values of the independence struggle, the spirit of the Constitution and the basic orientation of the UN’s Human Rights’ Declaration.. The first amendment to it proposed by the Vajpayee government in 2003 itself was to undermine these values and to start the process of implementing the RSS concepts. But, though the RSS plans are clearly spelled out in Golwalkars’ Bunch of Thoughts, in an atmosphere when all the constituents of the BJP led NDA and almost all the opposition parliamentary parties starting from Congress were pursuing soft Hindutva as part of their vote bank politics, why the NPR, the construction of Detention Camps etc were proposed in the 2003 Amendment were not given the serious attention it called for. When the UPA government came to power in 2004, it sent a circular to the state governments to implement these proposals, and some state governments started to act on them. But the proposals for implementing the NPR was implemented only as part of 2011 the census.
When the 2016 Amendment was proposed by the Modi government, there were criticisms and opposition from the democratic and progressive individuals to it. Minority organizations also opposed it. But as far as the parliamentary opposition was concerned, due to vote bank politics, many of them in effect compromised with the amendments. As a result, millions of people, mainly Muslims, born in Assam, living for generations in Assam, who have their parents in Assam faced the danger of losing their citizenship. So, also the poorer sections, the dalits and Adivasis. If the NPR is prepared in 2020 based on same yardsticks it is apprehended that at least 20 millions may lose citizenship at all India level. No other country is going to receive them. The only possible option will be to construct large number of Detention Camps for them. It is going to be a hundred times more dangerous situation compared to what happened in Germany during the fascist days.
But, in spite of the gravity of the problem, when the Modi-2 was aggressively going ahead with its Hindurashtra plans in preparing the Assam NRC, the parliamentary opposition, under poaching and attacks from BJP government, it seems, remained confused and derailed. Historically also Congress like parties had failed to provide a progressive solution to the problem and to create public opinion for it. But, BJP systematically utilized the sentiments of the ordinary Assamese people through their muscular nationalist offensive. Now they are taking it at all India level, whipping up majoritarian Hindutva sentiments! For this, they are flaring up Islamophobia and divisive politics. Even in the 17th Lok Sabha elections, the opposition and minority parties could not recognize the gravity of the situation and come together in Assam and at all India level to defeat BJP. Again, even after scrapping of Article 370 and clampdown on J&K, even after Ayodhya verdict, and even after Assam NRC, the parliamentary opposition was not taking up the question with the gravity it calls for. So was the case with the parliamentary left who have abandoned all communist positions in practice.
Even the progressive, democratic and secular, splintered but struggling forces also could not fully recognize the dangerous consequences of NP/NRC for Assam, or its expansion to national level, with the prospect of detaining all those who lose citizenship in huge Detention Camps indefinitely. Though, some of them and many democrats had come forward with criticisms when the 2016 CAB put forward by Modi regime, or later, similar to the critic we had initiated in the form of an article by com. Sanjay Singhvi published in Red Star (2018), very few could visualize the impending danger posed by the NRC/NPR project taken up by the fascist Modi regime. Even if some of us recognized the grave danger, we could not develop a movement putting forward concrete proposals from our side. So, though critics were published and some propaganda was made, they could not influence public opinion pointing out where the fascist Modi regime was leading the country to under the sectarian CAB and NRC in Assam. The CAB was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016 and was passed during the winter session on January 8, but it lapsed as it was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha following apprehensions that it might not pass muster there owing to its lack of majority in it.
RSS See CAB and NPR/NRC, an experiment to launch Hindurashtra..
So, after 31st August, based on the Appeal, we intensified efforts to build up resistance to CPB, NPR and NRC. Holding series of meetings with number of organizations at Delhi, an Anti-NRC, Anti-Fascist Front was formed. Similar efforts were made at al India level. Meanwhile, the October meeting of the Central Committee of CPI(ML) Red Star called for intensification of efforts to build common program basd revolutionary left core and building of Anti-Fascist Forum in all states to resist the fascist onslaughts of Modi regime in all fields, especially on the citizenship question. Through Red Star, online RS weekly, and through social media FB, and WhattsApp groups like Anti NRC, a continuous campaign was launched with the slogans: Withdraw CAB, No to NPR/NRC. A rally of 5-6 hundred comrades, people from the East Delhi bustees and Nepalese, from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, followed by dharna was organized by the Front on 14th October, with the slogans: Reject Assam NRC, Withdraw CAB, No to NPR/NRC. Similar initistive was taken in other states also. The class and mass organizations where party comrades are active were called upon to take independent initiative uniting with like-minded organizations to join the mass movements wherever they are coming up to challenge the Modi regime.
Intoxicated with its big victory in the 2019 elections Modi government was trying to get the CAB passed somehow in the parliament and to force people to prove they are citizens under NPR/NRC, as part of a far-reaching majoritarian Hindutva program buttressed by its muscular nationalist offensive. It was giving priority to the preparation of the NPR at all India level and pressurizing the state governments to train the enumerators for starting it from 1st April and to start constructing the Detention Camps. It was intended to terrorize and maim the people and all opposition forces. These steps were intended to create confusion among the minorities and all oppressed sections of people. When the all the seven state governments in the Northeast under its leadership or with its alliance came out against the CAB, Amit Shah rushed to these states and allowed five of them except Assam and Meghalaya to issue orders implementing the ‘Inner Line permits’, which meant without special permits none other tha the citizens of these can enter there. It showed that when in the name of integrating J&K with rest of India the Article 370 was scrapped and clampdown imposed there, it moved in the revese direction in the Northeast to appease the regional forces there.
The CPI(ML) Red Star repeatedly called on its committees as well as the CR forces that if these fascist move, are not resisted immediately, it shall eventually lead to a situation like what happened in Germany where the Nazis hauled hundreds of thousands of Jews into concentration camps leading to the Holocaust! Horrible chapters in history which we thought will never return may be repeated in our soil with more tragic consequences. It was time to become very concerned and take immediate steps to create public opinion against this RSS led move. It is already proved that RSS is capable of even surpassing the Nazis through its criminal acts like pogrom in Gujarat and mob lynching at many places.
This critical situation called for a countrywide broad based move by all democratic forces against this dangerous move of Modi-2. The BJP chief ministers were clamoring for NRC in all states to divert people’s attention from burning issues caused by increasing recession. The Ministry of Home Affairs’ Notification of 31st July, called for preparing the NPR at all India level on a time bound manner to be completed by 30th September, 2020. If this NPR process is allowed to be taken up based on the CAB, it will create an unprecedented humanitarian tragedy, a political retreat to medieval barbarity based on Manusmriti. So, at this critical juncture, we have to intensify the countrywide movement manifold to get the whole process of NPR abandoned, and to get all people presently living in this country and born here recognized as Indian citizens. The initiatie to contact all forces opposed to CAB and NRC, to organize campaigns and to form anti-fascist platforms at state level, uniting the Muslims, the dalits, Adivasis and other oppressed classes and sections was further intensified. Meanwhile, many more forces including opposition parliamentary parties, organizations of Muslims, dalits, Adivasis and other oppressed sections also started intensifying the campaign to oppose CAB and the NPR/NRC. Right from the beginning, the BJP was trying to present it as a Muslim question, to whip up Islamophobia and to break the unity of the forces opposing it. Forces opposed to RSS/BJP tried to disprove it through practice.
By this time the students and women, and many democratic forces and progressive intellectuals had joined the campaign and coming to the forefront. The opposition to the draconian moves by Modi government was spreading to more areas. As the cabinet approved the CAB and it was introduced in the parliament on 10th December it became clear that it was an attempt to effect a backdoor entry to the RSS notion of Hindurashtra. Its aim is not to benefit refugees and persecuted communities. Rather, it is to exclude Muslims from the definition of Indian citizenship. That is the only rationale behind linking citizenship with religion in the CAB. But, BJP’s divisive politics was being challenged by the unity of all anti- CAB forces as was reflected in recent Assembly elections in West Bengal. Modi-Shah duo hope that CAB can be used to break up this unity, and to assure Hindus that even if they are excluded from all India NRC, they will be protected by the CAB.
But the reality is that all India NRC threatens not only Muslims, but India's all poor citizens with exclusion. The poor cannot even prove they are poor, and so are excluded even from the BPL list! How can they find documents to prove their ancestors were citizens in 1951? The fact is that NRC threatens all Indians with statelessness. Meanwhile, CAB says that while Muslims excluded from NRC will remain stateless and be "thrown out", non Muslims excluded by NRC will get refugee status and be allowed to apply for citizenship. In other words, the choice facing the majority of Indian citizens if all India NRC and CAB become a reality, is a choice between statelessness, and refugee status! All India NRC + CAB turns every Indian citizen bearing inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution, into a supplicant, begging for citizenship.
The NRC+CAB disaster can be compared with Modi's demonetisation disaster. Demonetisation claimed it would get rid of black money. Actually black money is pouring into BJP's funds through Electoral Bonds! Demonetisation scrapped currency notes and destroyed India's economy. Likewise, all India NRC+CAB will scrap people's citizenship and destroy India's Constitution. Indians are not suffering today because of large scale "illegal immigrants". There is no evidence at all that there is any large-scale influx of undocumented immigrants in India. Indians are suffering joblessness and deprivation today, not because of immigrants, but because of the devastation of the economy, jobs, and security by the Modi-Shah Government. So, Indians started uniting to reject and resist the all India NRC and CAB, which are an all out attack on India's secular Constitution.
The passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha and in Rajya Sabha and it becoming CAA on 12th December, 2019, marked the definitive transition of India from a secular liberal democracy to a majoritarian tyranny in a profoundly legal and political sense. A development that erases the main distinction between India and Pakistan and turns India into a mirror image of our neighbor, the passage of the bill also makes India increasingly resemble Israel in terms of the determinants of her citizenship. Transforming the largest democracy and the greatest repository of diversity on earth to look like both Pakistan and Israel at the same time is no small feat. VD Savarkar and Golwalkar must be feeling jubilant i
Baba Saheb Ambedkar had warned seven decades ago: "While everybody recognised the necessity of diffusion of constitutional morality for the peaceful working of the democratic constitution, there are two things interconnected with it which are not, unfortunately, generally recognised. One is that the form of administration must be appropriate to and in the same sense as the form of the Constitution. The other, that it is perfectly possible to pervert the Constitution, without changing its form by merely changing its form of administration and to make it inconsistent and opposed to the spirit of the Constitution." With the majoritarian Hindutva party coming to power and changing the administration, it became easy for it to subvert the Constitution!
The CAA is not a reflection of the BJP’s love for the persecuted Hindus or other non-Muslim minorities in our neighborhood. It is simply the latest in a long list of intimidating tools meticulously developed by RSS to alienate the Muslims and the oppressed sections under Manusmriti. BJP thought with the country-wide implementation of the NPR/NRC), the Muslims and all oppressed sections under the Brahmanical system can be thrown into a psychological and physical ghetto on the narrow margins of the vast canvas of our country.
Though for the last several years, the BJP government at the Centre was loudly proclaiming its intention to create a pan-India NRC, a process asking every person residing in India to prove their citizenship so that the government can “expel undocumented immigrants”. Look at the implications of an exercise like this. The NRC in the state of Assam alone took almost a decade; it required the involvement of over 50,000 government employees and cost more than Rs. 1,200 crore. This is a state that has less than 3% of the country’s total population. A nationwide NRC would take up the services of a huge proportion of state and Central government officials and require a hundred times more expenditure. During this process, a large part of government functioning would be diverted to this exercise, making the already understaffed government system essentially non-functional. It will force the whole population of the country to scramble to obtain documentation and to prove their citizenship. Still, crores of people will fail to prove their citizenship as huge numbers of Indians do not possess documentary proof of their citizenship. The overall impact of the NRC will greatly exceed the enormous disruption caused by demonetization and GST May be RSS likes to create such a situation to impose its total hegemony over the country and its people so that transformation to its Hindurashtra shall be easier! As far as the RSS/BJP leadership is concerned, after the big victory in the Lok Sabha elections they had the illusion that through Modi-Shah team, a repetition of what it did in its ‘laboratory’, Gujarat, organizing Godhra and the horrific pogrom as its follow up to impose the majoritarian Hindutva hegemony in the state, is possible at all India level also!. For the arrogant head of RSS, Bhagavat, it is just another experiment; he has stated that even if BJP loses, the RSS will gain!
RSS Experiment Confronts Countrywide Mass Upsurge.
After parliament adopted the CAB on 11th, when we had called for burning the CAA on 12th December, the response was great. Many more forces had started rallying in the anti-CAA movement. On 13th and 14th there were numerous protests all over the country including in the Jamia Millea in Delhi and AMU in Aligarh. And by the time thousands of students from Jamia organized a massive march to the parliament street on 15th afternoon, the RSS/BJP think tank had made their action plan: the police and RSS goons in police dress burned buses and threw stones to prepare the ground for the massive attack on the students that followed. When the students were forced to retreat and take shelter within the campus, they were attacked within the campus, inside the Library, and girls hiding in the toilets were pulled out and savagely attacked, severely injuring many including one with bullet wound. By this time the students of AMU, who had come out in support of Jamia students, were also barbarously attacked. The RSS plan was to isolate and attack the Muslim institutions, to communalize the resistance that was breaking out. But the RSS plans were shattered as the students from JNU and DU along with so many others from opposition parties and various organizations marched to Delhi police headquarters and gheraoed it till early hours of 16th, till the time all detained Jamia student were released. What happened on 15/16night at Delhi became a catalyst and it changed the narrative enormously. From 16th morning the countrywide spontaneous upsurge started with the students, youth and women spearheading it. . More and more sections started joining it, seeing it as a last battle to save the Constitution, to save Democracy from the RSS and its parivar. When the Yogi government launched bloody onslaught against all Muslim areas in UP, unleashing the police and RSS goons on the people, and within two days shot and killed 18 protesters, unlike in the past, the victims resisted bravely; Millions of people started coming out on the streets. India has never witnessed such an upsurge of the masses spearheaded by the students, youth and women everywhere. And, even after one month it has not weakened, it is still gaining strength every day and spreading to every corners of the country taking the shape of a massive protracted people’s upsurge prepared to fight till the CAA and NPR/NRC are withdrawn. The call for boycott of the NPR and total non cooperation with the NPR process is taken up as clarion call to be implemented at any cost!
RSS chief Bhagavat and Modi-Shah team along with other BJP leaders had never expected such a spontaneous mighty upsurge which stated creating impact in all fields, including in the Jharkhand elections, in which it lost another state under its control. When Amit Shah was roaring in the two houses of parliament, spearheading scrapping of Article 370, reducing J&K to two Union Territories, imposing clamp down and turning Kashmir in to an open jail, when the labour laws, the RTI, UAPA everything was changed as the coporates want, when Babri Masjid land was handed over to the criminals who demolished it, when the RSS goons could carry on with mob lynching, when the parliamentary opposition could be terrorized using ED, CBI, etc. and even then no effective resistance was visible, like many others among the ruling class parties, RSS/BJP had thought that they are unassailable; they can easily impose CAA and NPR/NRC, impose majoritarian Hindutva hegemony, and advance towards Hindurashtra!.
But, the mighty upsurge in the streets surprised not only the RSS/BJP bosses, but even the opposition mainstream parties whose compromises and class positions have taken the country to such a dangerous situation, when RSS has penetrated and is controlling each and every constitutional institution, the state machinery, the military, the police, intelligence agencies. The mainstream opposition parties, and even the parliamentary left had refused to understand the tumultuous changes taking place around the world after the imposing of the neoliberal LPG and corporatization from 1970s, taking the exploitation of human labor and nature to most horrific levels, especially after the 2008 imperialist crisis. As the ruling system, not only in the imperialist countries, but in the neo-colonially dependent countries also are taking increasingly ultra right, neo-fascist forms, and the traditional opposition including the ruling class paties and social democrats have no alternate to put forward, mighty uprisings and people’s movements are taking place with millions of people coming out in the streets from the days of Arab Spring starting with Tunisia in 2009. As the very concept of India which emerged through renaissance movements and the anti-imperialist independence struggle is being challenged by the muscular nationalist, Brahmanical Hindurashtrawadi RSS, and as the vast masse of people are severely affected by the unprecedented recession, threatening their jobs, livelihood and basic rights, as the students and youth are seeing how bleak and disappointing is their future, conditions were being created for their spontaneous resistance and uprisings. What Modi-2 started doing arrogantly within days in the first week if August was alienating and antagonizing them. However hard Modi tried to conceal his aims through a pack of lies, the horrific situation in Kashmir valley and Northeast, in the Detention Camps, coupled with the arrogance of linking citizenship with religion, and the consequences of an NPR/NRC exercise angered them. So, the myths spread by the RSS/BJP as well as the mainstream media, the neo-liberal/corporate ruling system and the political establishment serving them including the opposition parties got exposed; they are getting shattered in front of their eyes. The students, youth, and women are in the streets throwing up new forms of resistance, challenging the ruling neo-fascist forces, creating history!
It is just the beginning. It is not led by any particular force/ forces. It is led mainly by the students and youth who are fed up with the ruling system. Join it with all your might, but do not try to impose your leadership with your half baked ideas, with sectarian, puritan concepts. Understand class struggle is not a tea party or embroidery work, it isa mighty upheaval of the hitherto masses who were under all forms of plunder and tyranny; so it cannot be so tidy and systematic. It is a bid to overtrow the existing system, which brought the RSS fascists to power, and to create an entirely new system where democracy prevails, it is the beginning of the festival of the masses. Join it, move along with it, try to understand it, try hard to make it protracted, helping it to get politicized in the course of its development to higher levels. We should not be in a hurry to theorize or judge the numerous forces who are part of this torrent, like the variety of elements becoming part of the mighty flow in the Ganges during the floods. What is happening all over the country from the cities to the villages, to the tribal hamlets is inspiring, it is exposing the old myths about India, and about people’s uprisings.
What were the myths spread by the forces of reaction as well as by those who had abandoned the politics of social change and social justice? They said Modi-Shah are unassailable; Protests need a central leadership; People are fed up with political protests, they are boring; The Indian middle class fully supports Modi; Students and Youth are only interested in their future careers; Women are under patriarchal hegemony, they cannot become part of social upheaval; No one can beat the Hindutva social media strategy; Party manifestos don’t need to be taken seriously; Indian society is so polarised, we won’t stand up for each other; The age of street protests is over. Now only possibility is about managing public opinion through better public relations! These and similar others were the myths repeated by those who stood for status-quoism, and against social change. What is happening in the streets have started shattering many of them in the last two months.
We should try to approach what we are witnessing in the streets with the perspective of: Let hundred flowers blossom, let hundreds thought content. We should plunge in to the movement and fight together with all those who have come out to throw out the CAA and NPR/NRC; and if the slogan can be developed to throw out the RSS, well and good. Plunge in to the movement and intensify it, so that conditions are created for correct ideas capable of creating social change emerge. Seeking truth from facts, let us try to expand and deepen this upsurge so that the understanding about create a new society, a new world emerges. We should persist with the movement and continue to try for it according to concrete conditions
The upsurge against the CAA and the NPR/NRC has so far helped to reclaim some our lost democratic space. No longer are protests confined to enclosed areas designated by the police, which have to be wound up when police wants. Whether prohibitions against the public gatherings are in force or not, the upsurge has led to protestors are re-establishing their right to raise their voices, to sing, to dance and to shout slogans across India. It is a beginning. How far it can be carried forward depends upon the strenuous efforts of all the forces who have come together to unleash the people’s fury so far in the real spirit of a mass movement. So, all our comrades should untiringly remain part of this great torrent, trying to strengthen it every hour, every minute.,
Shaheen Bagh: “Women Against Fascism”, Mighty Symbol of Resistance!
Shaheen Bagh in southeastern Delhi has become the focal point of the movement of Women Against Fascism; it is creating history. The local women along with the struggling people of Delhi with the slogan: No CAA, No NPR/NRC have declared to continue this struggle centre till these draconian moves are reversed by the fascist Modi government. Everyday thousands of women and children from the locality and nearby areas reach the place and stay for hours to declare their determination to continue the struggle till victory, in spite of many attempts by the police to remove them from the area. Shaheen Bagh has already become a symbol of resistance, known nationally and internationally. In spite of state terror and RSS threats, it continues to inspire the movement all over the country..
Inspired by Shaheen Bagh, the women of Park Circus in Central Kolkata have already started the Women Against Fascism centre there pledging to continue it till the CAA and NPR/NRC are repealed. It is attracting many people and is becoming more and more lively day by day. There are reports of women in UP, Bihar, MP and other states also with active participation of all democratic forces and oppressed sections of the people.
Now Shaheen Bagh like focal points of resistance are coming up at hundreds of places all over the country, and even abroad. If it started in every state with big mobilization of women along with men taking place at these centers where they shout slogans, sing and dance, interspersed with speeches. Women Against Fascism is a great development which shall inspire the liberation of our country along with their own liberation from the patriarchal shackles in the long run..
As the RSS/BJP leaders and activists are organizing vitriolic campaign against the movement as a whole, spreading many lies and slander, trying to create an atmosphere of fear wherever possible, to challenge it more effectively the present counter propaganda campaign should be further developed by the struggling forces. Similarly the campaign to Boycott the NPR, the process of which is already started in some areas under BJP rule and all over India from 1st April should be launched. Let us continue to spread our call more widely that we are not going to prepare any documents or going to cooperate with the NPR. We shall not allow the enumerators to enter the mohallas and villages. Let us create a new wave of Non-Cooperation Movement.
Get Involved More firmly, Intensify No to CAA, NPR/NRC Movement!
The mass upsurge started with the adoption of the Citizenship Amendment Act and against the NRC across the country from 15th December is still spreading to more areas and intensifying day by day. At least 26 people have died so far in police firing, including 19 in UP itself and hundreds injured. While the RSS parivar is vigorously propagating the CAA is for providing protection to persecuted religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, except Muslims, they are silent on the more than one lakh Hindu and Muslim refugees from Sri Lanka who are leading a miserable life in refugee camps for three decades, or about the Rohingyan refugees fleeing from Myanmar. This Act has attracted widespread criticism as it makes citizenship religion based. The non-BJP-ruled states have refused to implement it. Four state assemblies have already passed resolutions demanding its repeal. 12 more non-BJP state governments have announced that they will not implement the NPR/NRC process. Even allies of the BJP have expressed reservations about it. Tens of millions of people are coming out on the streets for last nearly two months, with the students, youth and women playing the vanguard role, calling for repealing CAA and rejection of NPR/NRC.
But prime minister Modi and home minister Amit Shah are arrogantly repeating that even if all other parties come together to oppose the CAA, the BJP-led government will “not move back even an inch”. They have accused opposition parties of spreading misinformation, and said they could continue to do so, but the Act would not be repealed. Now, the BJP and the Modi government are organizing outreach rallies in favour of the CAA. Like Modi, Shah is also repeating the miseries faced by Hindu and other minority refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bengladesh, and CAA is for giving citizenship to them, not for taking away anybody’s citizenship. But then why are they pushing forward the NPR to be followed by the NRC? They are silent about the fate of the Hindu and Muslim refugees from Sri Lanka. An analysis of the impact of the CAA and NPR/NRC process in view of what happened in Assam show that not only Muslims as the BJP leadership is repeating, but also dalits, Adivasis, poorer sections of OBCs and other oppressed sections shall be severely affected. Under NPR crores of them will come under the category of ‘suspected citizens’, and then it will be impossible formost of them to get back the citizenship. There are also many doubts about the intentions of the new columns included under the NPR. And, the most relevant question is, what is the necessity for this whole process, so many decades after 1947 transfer of power? It is clear as day light that it is to make the register of citizens for the Hindurashtra, which the vast majority of the people firmly reject.
Instead of addressing these questions, Modi govt has resorted to unprecedented state terror, especially in UP and other BJP ruled states, and Delhi where police is under its control, to terrorize the people who are coming out in increasing numbers to join the movement against CAA and NPR/NRC, to create fear psychosis, to spread the calumny that only Muslims oppose it. At the same time, the RSS parivar is spreading lies using the captive media about the CAA, NPR/NRC to confuse the people, and attack all those who oppose them as Pak agents or traitors. As Karnataka, UP, Haryana governments already starting the NPR to find out the ‘doubtful citizens’ and all other states are asked to make preparations and to start it from 1st April, contrary to the lies spread by the RSS parivar, now the picture is absolutely clear that all the three are integrally linked Then, based on the number of ‘doubtful citizens’ in the NPR, the NRC shall be started as it was done in Assam, using CAA as the criteria and demanding documents including birth certificates from all. Thus crores of people who are resident and born in India, not only Muslims, but as happened in Assam, dalits, Adivasis, and poorer sections of the OBCs also will become stateless or refugees! They will be thrown to Detention Camps, the construction of which are already started.
When all these are happening, the attacks on the working class, all toiling masses, the peasantry, women, youth and students are reaching unprecedented levels in various forms, especially in the context of galloping recession; prices of all essential commodities and cost of essential services are sky-rocketing, further impoverishing the masses. Coupled with this, the CAA, NPR/NRC and the fascist attacks on those who oppose these have created a dangerous situation. Ever increasing number of people are in miseries and they are coming out in tens of millions spreading the resistance to even villages and tribal hamlets.
What was started at Shaheen Bagh is spreading with millions of women coming out on the streets at hundreds of centers, whose number is increasing day by day. The movement is taking the form of a festival of the masses. So, as soon as the Boycott CAA, NPR/NRC slogan is given its message is spreading fast. People are declaring that they will not participate in this process, they will not allow the enumerators to enter their mohallas or villages. It is going to become a great Non-Cooperation Movement. All struggling forces should become part of the ongoing great countrywide upsurge, making it stronger day by day, with the determination to intensify it continuously as a protracted people’s movement with the vision of a New Independence Movement.
The RSS fascists never takes lessons from history, or what is happening around them. In Jharkhand, where BJP was in power, the elections took place after the CAA was enacted, Modi and Shah waged intensive campaign for three weeks lavishly spending huge amounts of money, exhorting people to vote for the majoritarian Hindutva, muscular nationalism and for the CAA. But BJP was defeated decisively. Now, not taking lessons from it, Modi-Shah team is waging a violent campaign to re-capture power in Delhi elections attacking all those who oppose them, including the students from the universities and the women leading thee movement at Shaheen Bagh as Pak agents and traitors, with Jai Sri Ram as their election slogan! Who is dividing the people, who is making the country tukde, tukde is abundantly clear.
In many of the struggle centers in all the states where we are present, the Red Star comrades are visible and they have integrated with the ongoing mass upsurge with all their might, uniting with the masses who are creating history, as well as making conscious moves to join hands with the struggling communist revolutionary forces striving for unity among them with the vision of independent left assertion. In all the states we are present, our comrades in whichever field they are active, are visible with the masses, taking initiative to unite the struggling people, the dalits, Adivasis, Muslims along with the students, youth and women on the one hand, and the working class and the peasantry on the other. This ongoing massive people’s upsurge is a great teacher. All those who are coming forward and integrating more and more firmly with it, casting away all remnants of the sectarian past will get invaluable experience in genuine mass line.
Comrades and compatriots, The ongoing historic people’s upsurge is reaching a critical phase, History teaches that the fascists never try to take lessons from the past. They are extremely sectarian, intolerant, and criminalized in thought and action. That is why open threats are coming from thei top leaders that they will not allow any resistance in the universities, and the Shaheen Bagh like the movements after 11th February when the Delhi election results come out. They may go to any extent to unleash savage state terror, further confuse the masses with a militaristic adventure to intensify Islamo/Pak phobia and muscular national chauvinist fervor, they may provoke communal riots followed by Ahmedabad like pogroms, they can go to any extent to weaken the ongoing countrywide mass upsurge by dividing the people, weakening our unity. Guard against all provocations; Guard against any sectarian moves from our ranks; Let us continuously broaden the movement, strengthen the unity and solidarity among our fighting people for defending secularism and democracy at all cost, upholding the spirit off the Preamble of our Constitution!
The enemy may calculate that people shall get tired as the struggle is prolonged. But we should overcome all fatigue, mobilize new sections of the masses, recoup our strength and intensify the people’s upsurge until we succeed to compel Modi government to repeal CAA and entirely reject the NPR/NRC project. And, if it refuses to heed and act according to people’s will, until it is ousted from power and the fascist RSS is demolished.
CPI(ML) Red Star.
Citizenship is fundamental right of every resident and everyone born in India!
Join Rally on 14th October from Mandi House at 10.30 am to Jantar Mantar and Dharna there till 4pm
An appeal to struggling left, democratic and bahujan forces, Workers and all oppressed classes and sections including Dalits, Adivasis, backwards, minorities and women, youth and students, and people’s movements who oppose corporate-fascist forces and struggle for people’s alternative for democracy and development!
Compatriots, struggling people of our country,
We are now living in an extremely difficult situation. On the one hand the economy is in doldrums. Workers are losing jobs, unemployment is rampant. Distress in the agricultural sector is intensifying. On the other hand, every field, every issue is communalised.. An atmosphere of hatred and intolerance is created, leading to mob lynching like incidents increasing fast. Modi-2 is unleashing fascist terror to impose its dictates. This is what is happening to the people of J&K where Article 370 and 35 A were abrogated on 5th August, downgrading the state to two union territories without consulting the people of the state in any form. The whole state is militarized, put under prohibitory orders and all communications and democratic rights are cut down. Refusing to recognize the diversity of the country with different languages and culture, there are attempts to impose Hindi based on one nation, one language. Beginning with talking about Congress less, opposition less India, now the fascist forces have starting talking about one nation, one party!
The NRC/Assam was constituted unconstitutionally and speeded up by the supreme Court, the final list was announced on 31st August declaring 19,06,657 people stateless. Large number of them are Adivasis and dalits including those taken from Jharkhand, Bihar etc by Britishers for plantations, Nepalese, and almost half of them from Muslim minority, all of whom presently residents of the state. They are given 120 days to get clearance from Foreigners’ Tribunals or from higher courts. Otherwise they are going to be thrown in Detention Camps. This is a most inhuman step. We demand the repeal of NRC/Assam.
Modi-2 is trying to get the Citizenship (Amendments) Bill, 2016, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on 8th January, 2019, adopted by the parliament somehow. It is against the secular values of the Constitution and for communally discriminating against Muslims in line with the Two-nation theory initiated by Savarkar, while granting citizenship to migrants (from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan) including Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian. We demand the immediate withdrawal of this Bill.
While various BJP chief ministers and leaders are clamouring for NRC in all states, the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Notification of 31st July, the Central Government has already decided to prepare and update the National Population Register(NPR) at all India level on a time bound manner by starting the field work for it from 1st April to 30th September, 2020. If this NPR process is taken up based on the Citizenship (Amendments) proposed in BJP’s Bill, it will become binding on the whole population to prove their citizenship. It is apprehended that almost 40 to 50 million people, who are born in India and presently staying here, may lose citizenship. It will create a horrific situation and an unprecedented humanitarian tragedy. So we demand that the whole process of NPR should be abandoned and all people presently living in this country and born here should br recognized as Indian citizens.
Friends, as a result of all these the country is in a horrific situation.The economy is in recession, life of the masses has become increasingly miserable, while the fascist forces becoming more aggressive are destroying the unity of the people and engaged in putting down all voices of resistance. This critical situation demands the unity of all exploited and oppressed masses. Let us raise our voice in unison against corporate-fascist forces and for ensuring citizenship for all as the fundamental right of all who are living in India now.
CPI(ML) Red Star, New Democratic Party of India, Lok Samiti, Citizens for Democracy, Bahujan Communist Party, IFTU (Sarvahara), Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra, Lok Paksh, All India Milli Council, All India Nepali Unity Society-Mul Pravah, CPI(ML) New Proletarian, Democratic People’s Lawyers’ Association, All India Peace Mission, All India Christian Minority Front, and Jan Sangharsh Manch (Haryanna)..