On the 7th of January, 2020 Vashram Sarvaiya, one of the seven Dalits flogged by cow vigilantes in Una for skinning a dead cow, wrote a letter to the President of India to deport them out of the country to a country where they will be treated as citizens. “We oppose the CAA but if they want to implement the Act they should also deport us to a country where dalits would be considered equal citizens”. Vashram was venting his discontent and anger against the failure of the BJP government in Gujarat in bringing to justice the perpetrators of caste violence on July 11, 2016 and for failure to give relief to the victims. It was in the context of the nation-wide agitation against the CAA-NPR-NRC that he wrote the letter to the President.  “I wear a burqa and this is my land. We fought against the British and those who did not are asking us to prove our citizenship. The Preamble says we are all equal. I am fighting for my children.” This is the voice of a woman standing ground in the Shaheen Bagh in Delhi that has now become a model in the resistance to the imposition of CAA-NPR-NRC by the BJP government. The movement against the CAA-NRC-NPR in the country is a movement to protect the constitutional rights of citizens that are sought to be trampled by the divisive policies of the ruling dispensation-from reading down Article 370, dismembering the state of Jammu and Kashmir, blockade of Kashmir, jailing opposition leaders to the passage of the CAA.

The amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955 passed in both houses of Parliament and given assent by the President makes a total shift in the concept of citizenship. While the 1955 Act was religion neutral, the amendment makes religion as a marker for citizenship. It targets the Muslims and makes it clear they are not welcome. The constitutional basis of citizenship is now under attack by the amendment that seeks to fast track granting of citizenship to six communities from three countries excluding the Muslims. The story doled out is that there are persecuted minorities, all non-Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who should be treated sympathetically in the grant of citizenship. If that were so, why exclude the Rohingyas of Burma and the Tamils of Srilanka, the Ahmediyas of Pakistan?  The Home Minister made it clear that the amendment pertains to giving citizenship to those persecuted in these three countries. The target of the amendment is to clearly exclude Muslims in granting citizenship. The CAA, entirely discriminatory in nature would create an ocean of stateless people. The European Parliament termed CAA as creator of largest statelessness in the world.

The CAA should be viewed in the backdrop of the NRC in Assam that has left out some 19.6 lakh Assamese from the purview of citizenship. Incidentally a huge majority are Hindus and the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat assured, “Hindus need not be apprehensive about being made to leave the country irrespective of whether their names feature on the NRC in Assam or elsewhere.” What about the 4 lakh Muslims who did not find place in the NRC? Muslim migrants will become infiltrators and therefore illegal to be thrown out, while Hindu migrants will  be considered as refugees and granted citizenship under the CAA. The NRC would open the issue for all citizens in the country. The horrible NRC experience in Assam is a case enough to reject NRC at the national level. After the victory of the BJP in 2014, an important RSS functionary and BJP leader stated that “Muslims and Christians will be wiped out of the country by 2021” though the latter find space in the CAA. Detection, deletion and deportation have been the line of BJP in dealing with issue of so-called illegal immigration targeting the Muslims. While a series of lies were doled out by the leaders of the BJP on the issue of nationwide NRC, it is already on track to begin the NPR exercise from April to September. In the “We or Nationhood Defined” the guru of RSS, Golwalker  referring to non-Hindus says, “ The non-Hindu peoples in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to hold in reverence Hindu religion…claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less preferential treatment- not even citizenship rights.” The CAA reflects this notion, a notion of building a Hindu Rashtra.

The CAA has triggered the outpouring of women, particularly Muslim women and students braving state violence.  The violence on the students of JNU by goons supported by the police, the direct attacks on Jamia Milia Islamia university students, on AMU students, the brutality unleashed by the police on minorities in several places in UP, Karnataka are pointers to the fascist response of  the RSS-BJP government to the democratic protests of the people. The hate speeches by Modi, Shah, Yogi and many other leaders of the BJP and RSS functionaries have exposed the communal intent and character.

While the fascist drive continues and resistance to it is building up, the economic scenario is grim with slow down, joblessness, highest rate of unemployment in the last 45 years, agrarian distress et al. Disinvestment in and privatization of PSUs are high on the agenda of the government. The largest insurer in the world, the LIC has been opened for private players, trains will be run by private players charging whatever ticket price they fix. The pro-corporate, pro-foreign capital economic policies of the BJP government, having an adverse impact on common people of country, are running in tandem with its Hindutva communal agenda. The present fight against the latter in the form of the movement against the CAA-NCR-NPR must be strengthened in order to protect the core values of the Preamble and the constitutional rights.

(This statement of FORUM AGAINST HINDUTVA FASCIST OFFENSIVE (FAHFO) was received on January 8, 2020)