Image courtesy News 18
People, Persons, Citizens
When the idea of citizenship is wielded like a deadly weapon to deprive people of basic rights rather than to empower them, it’s time to think about the basis of rights differently. While in the Preamble to the Constitution, ‘we the people’ resolve to secure to all its ‘citizens’ justice, liberty, equality and fraternity; Article 14 of the Fundamental Rights ensures equality before the law to all “persons”, not only to citizens.
The people of a land precede the creation of “citizens”, and we the people of India must think seriously at this moment in our history, about how justice is to be secured to all persons, and whether citizenship is an emancipatory idea any longer.
Consider the revealing and tragic irony of one of the accused arrested for his alleged role in violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) , in East Delhi’s Seemapuri. Through his counsel, in a Delhi court, he claimed to be a juvenile, and to prove this, produced certificates from the madarsa at which he studies.
Delhi Police, however, claimed that these documents were insufficient to establish his age, and requested permission for a bone ossification test. The counsel of the accused argued that according to central government notifications, madarsa certificates are sufficient to prove age, but the Delhi court permitted police to carry out the ossification test.
Imagine the claim of such a person to citizenship and to inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC)! Continue reading It’s We the People, not we the Citizens, of India!
Guest Post by ‘Netherlands against CAA’
(A series of protests have been held in Netherlands against CAA by the Indian diaspora since last few days. There was a protest at International Court of Justice ( ICJ) based in Hague on 30 th December. It was the fifth protest in last ten days. Pasted below a statement issued on the occasion.)
Statement for Press Release: ICJ Protest
In light of the recent events in India, a group of Indian diaspora residing in the Netherlands, deeply disturbed by the turn of events have decided to protest against the Government of India before the Peace Palace. The protest is directed against the enactment of Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (“Act”) followed by gross perpetration of human rights violation against its citizens by the Government of India. Continue reading Statement Issued by ‘Netherlands against CAA’ (Citizenship Amendment Act)
Uttar Pradesh is dealing with CAA as it dealt with crime : encounters
Image Courtesy: PTI
Seventy-six year old advocate Mohammad Shoaib fought to have innocents branded as terrorists under repressive laws released, and risked multiple assaults by right-wing lawyers as he took these cases through various courts in Uttar Pradesh. His contemporary, former police officer SR Darapuri became a human rights activist and writer after he retired. Neither would have imagined one day they would be lodged in jail, charged with rioting and creating disaffection, under similarly draconian laws.
But as everybody knows, in Uttar Pradesh today Shoaib and Darapuri are not exceptions. They are just two notable figures among the hundreds of socio-political activists, writers and cultural workers—not to forget ordinary folks—who have been packed into various state prisons for opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). These protests are going on across the country, and started peaking after 19 December, when students spontaneously poured out in the streets against the new law and the proposed policy.
Uttar Pradesh’s administration has come down on those protesting with a heavy hand. The Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, tried to project the opposition to the bill as a purely ‘law and order issue: therefore, he sought to justify seeking “revenge” against those who damaged public or private property.
( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/your-government-wants-revenge-you)
Members of Ritwik Ghatak’s extended family have issued the following statement, responding to reports appearing in the media about the BJP youth wing planning to use bits from Ghatak’s cinema for what appears to be some propaganda film about refugees and migrants.
We, the undersigned, family members of the late Shri Ritwik Kumar Ghatak, strongly condemn the reported misappropriation and misuse of his politics and his cinema by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha to defend the controversial and discriminatory National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Shri Ghatak’s cinema reflected his deep empathy for the underprivileged — in particular, the displaced and marginalised victims of political and social upheavals. He was secular to the bone, as everyone who knew him can attest, and his writings and cinema are proof of this.
Continue reading Ritwik Ghatak’s Family Members Object to Misuse of His Cinema by Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha
Guest Post by Students Against Fascism in India – Bonn/Köln/Aachen
“We, the students of Bonn, Cologne and Aachen stand with the protests all across India condemning the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens of India (NRC). In particular, we condemn and are deeply disturbed by the police brutality unleashed on the peacefully protesting students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. The police laid siege to university campuses, vandalising the libraries, tear gassing hostel rooms and firing water canons. Several students sustained serious injuries in this process and some continue to be in police detention. To suppress the protests the Indian government has withheld internet access in at least five states. We admire and stand in unequivocal solidarity with students and protestors across the country who took and continue to take to the streets protesting the unconstitutional and unsecular CAA and NRC.
The CAA, passed by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) dominated upper and lower houses of the government, offers Indian citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians facing persecution on the grounds of religion in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. It blatantly discriminates on the basis of religion by specifically excluding Muslims, a first for the otherwise secular Indian Citizenship laws and constitution. This combined with the NRC, which is aimed at the disenfranchisement and detention of undocumented immigrants, equips the Hindu nationalist government of BJP led by Modi to institutionalise the ethnic cleansing of Muslim minorities by rendering them stateless.
We stand together to condemn the inherently communal and divisive nature of various actions undertaken by the Modi-led BJP government. We assert to not let such dangerously fascistic moves of turning a secular India into a Hindu nation go unchecked and call on others to do the same”
As Jamia Teachers Association calls for a candelight vigil at India Gate TODAY at 5 pm (December 23, 2019), we are publishing an earlier Facebook post by FAIZ ULLAH on Jamia written soon after the police violence at the university during the anti-CAA protests there.
Dayaar-e-shauq mera is the anthem of Jamia Milia Islamia. Translation of the lyrics at this link.
FAIZ ULLAH writes:
Jamia Millia Islamia for me, and many like me who grew up in the small neighbourhoods around it, is not just a institution of higher education. It is our nursery, our playground, and where we came of age. My family moved from Bara Hindu Rao to Jamia Nagar area in the mid 1980s because my father thought living in the vicinity of an educational institution would be good for us. I am not very sure if the anti-Sikh violence of 1984 Delhi was a decisive reason for him to move us to a place he thought would be safe, but looking back I think he did kind of foresaw the shape of things.
Over the next couple of decades my elder brother studied History, My sister Social Work, and I, Mass Communication at Jamia. My niece will graduate this year from the same university in which her grandfather also enrolled for a while for his fourth degree – he had to drop out in the first year because he was already running a small primary school with my mother and practicing law on the side.
My brother was active in the students’ politics circles and served as the joint secretary of the university’s students’ union. This often translated into arguments between him and my father, not over his politics but that he would be too involved in it and would disappear for days without any information.
Continue reading Dayaar-E-Shauq Mera – Land of my Hopes: Faiz Ullah
The Philadelphia Coalition Against Fascism in India held a protest Against CAA and NRC on December 19, 2019.
Students from several colleges in the Philadelphia area and beyond, including UPenn, Drexel, Temple, Villanova, and Rutgers; working professionals, and business graduates gathered in solidarity with student protests in India and against the imposition of the CAA and the NRC.
We read the preamble to the Indian constitution together and also took a pledge vowing to reject the CAA, the NRC, and the project of the RSS and BJP that seeks to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra.
Nearly 150 Philadelphians have signed this petition which affirms that
We will never accept these unconstitutional and unconscionable moves, and today join Indians from all over the country, and from every religion, caste, and region, to stand against any and all assaults on the idea of India as a secular, democratic republic.” It also points out that “there are many of Indian origin and heritage in the U.S. who are both concerned about events in India and condemn them. We have a responsibility to speak up in support of those resisting on the ground. … Those of us who live in Philadelphia, and believe in building a more free and just world, cannot stand by as fascist forces execute their programs of violence and exclusion. We stand proudly with the people of India against these excesses.