Guest post by ABHIK CHIMNI
The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) is a legislation which along with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) gives rise to a legal regime which is not consistent with the tenets of the Indian Constitution.
The CCA/NRC violates the basic structure of the Indian Constitution, primarily the equality clause and the principle of secularism embedded within the constitutional framework.
I further argue that Fundamental Rights are in fact dissenting rights.
The Indian Constitution – A story in three parts
The Constitution can be broadly divided into three parts.
The first accounts for protection of individual liberty through the fundamental rights chapter stipulated in Part III of the Constitution.
The second seeks to create independent institutions such as the constitutional courts, the Election Commission, the Comptroller Auditor General and the Governor’s office etc.
Continue reading CAA and dissent – the mere passing of a law does not imply democratic consensus: Abhik chimni
Guest Post by PEOPLE UNITED AGAINST REPRESSION ON ANTI CAA PROTESTERS
Over the past two months the Delhi Police has arrested Jamia students Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Asif Iqbal Tanha, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita along with activists Ishrat Jahan, Khalid Saifi, Gulfisha Fatima, Sharjeel Imam and hundreds of other Muslim youth. Some among them have been booked under the amended UAPA as a means of punishing the widespread protests against the CAA-NRC that emerged across the country in December last year. Most recently AMU students Farhan Zuberi and Ravish Ali Khan have been arrested by the UP police for participating in the anti-CAA protests. It is clear that the spate of arrests are far from over and new names of democratic activists are likely to be added to this already long list. Meanwhile those openly advocating violence against peaceful protesters such as Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma and Anurag Thakur have gone scot-free. Continue reading SAB YAAD RAKHA JAEGA: Nationwide Protest against repression on anti-CAA activists and democratic voices of dissent
Guest Post : Jantar Mantar Declaration of 1 March 2020 Against CAA, NRC and NPR
Adopted at the Convention of writers, artists, cultural activists, scientists and various associations such as Indian Cultural Forum, Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, Progressive Writers Association , Jan Sanskriti Manch, Dalit Lekhak Sangh, New Socialist Initiative, Jana Natya Manch, Delhi Science Forum, Janasamskriti (Malayalam), Vikalp, Cinema of Resistance, All India Peoples Science Network
We, at this Convention of writers, artists, cultural activists, scientists and various associations express our deep concern over recent violence and communal genocide in Delhi.
We understand that this tragic situation is a direct outcome of the communal design and divisive politicsof CAA-NPR-NRC. The silver lining is that the common people of Delhi remained united in their fight against this outrage. This convention reiterates that only by this unity and mutual trust and cooperation that the CAA-NPR-NRC design can be defeated.
We, at this Convention of writers, artists, scientists, cultural activists and various associations declare our solidarity with the on-going non-violent movement against the draconian CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act. 2019 ), proposed new format of NPR ( National Population Register) and the proposed NRC (National Register of Citizens) . Continue reading Jantar Mantar Declaration Against CAA, NRC and NPR
PM Modi didn’t mention former RSS chief Golwalkar on his recent 114th birth anniversary. The idea is to implement his ‘essence’ in private while not mentioning him in public.
The 114th birth anniversary of Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar went unnoticed. Barring a stray article by a second-rung leader of the saffron party in a national daily, none from the top hierarchy deemed it even necessary to remember the second chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) who followed the organisation’s founder, KB Hedgewar.
Interestingly, while Twitter-savvy Prime Minister Narendra Modi found time to tweet about his litti chokha conquest at Hunar Haat in Delhi, there was not a single line about Golwalkar on his timeline that day. It appeared a bit strange because in his book titled ‘Jyotipunj’ on the “greatest social workers” who “burnt their lives to glow the Motherland”, Modi had devoted forty pages to Golwalkar. “The life of Golwalkar Guruji is a fine example of dedication. Guruji, possessed all those qualities which are expected of an individual who lives for his goal—patience, determination, perseverance,” he wrote.
Was Modi’s or his senior colleagues’ silence inadvertent, or deliberate?
( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Modi-Sangh-Parivar-Want-Disremember-Golwalkar)
From Nehru to Patel and Ambedkar, the saffron party has appropriated freedom-fighters or tarnished legacies. Gandhi, however, poses a different problem.
Death ends all enmity’ (Marnanti Vairani) goes a maxim in Hinduism.
The story also goes that when Ravana was on death bed, Ram had even asked Laxman to go to him and learn something which no other person except a great scholar like him could teach him, declaring that though he has been forced to punish him for his terrible crime, ‘you are no more my enemy’.
It is a different matter that Hindutva supremacists — who are keen ‘to transform Hinduism from a variety of religious practices into a consolidated ethnic identity’ — are believers in the exact opposite.
For them, once the enemy is dead, the enmity flares up without any limits. They have no qualms that their adversary is no more to defend himself/ herself.
It has been more than five and half years that they are in power at the Centre and we have been witness to complete vilification, demonisation and obfuscation of many of their adversaries, all great leaders of the anti-colonial struggle. Of course, few were found to be ‘lucky’ enough that were promptly co-opted/appropriated by them, of course, in a sanitised form.
( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/BJP-Subjugation-Gandhi-Legacy-Roadblock-Shaheen-Bagh
Guest Post by National Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanisation (NCU)
The National Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanisation (NCU) unequivocally condemns the unconstitutional and anti-constitutional CAA-NPR-NRC being unilaterally imposed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. The NCU is a network of activists, researchers, urban practitioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, collectives and individuals who, for the past two years have been involved with issues of urban class and caste inequalities and is continually monitoring this acutely dangerous social condition in our cities. Therefore, are working for an alternative paradigm of urbanization. These inequalities are brought to light when basic rights such as the right to housing, participation in governance mechanisms, right to livelihood and most importantly, equal right to the city, are denied to the urban poor.
India has been going through tumultuous times. The massive inequities in Indian cities are best highlighted by a recent Oxfam report. Shockingly, just 63 billionaires have more money than the entire budget of the government of India. This disparity is mirrored in asset holdings in cities. The difference between the top 10 per cent and the bottom ten per cent is 50,000 times in Indian cities! This is further accentuated by the huge informality that exists in urban India-93 per cent.This exposes the extreme vulnerabilities faced by urban population. Continue reading CAA-NPR-NRC’s Impact on Urban Poor : National Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanisation (NCU)
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.
Following is a statement by the faculty, researchers and students of the University of Southern Florida, USA, in support of the struggle of students across universities against CAA and NRC.
We, the undersigned, faculty, postdoctoral fellows, students, and alumni of University of South Florida (USF), in strongest possible terms,condemn the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and assault and police crackdown on anti-CAA protests across India. We staged a protest on USF’s Tampa campus on December 19, the day widespread protests were organized across India on this issue. Even though our protest is India-specific, this is about protecting democracy and minority rights.
The Indian government recently passed the CAA, which we believe, allows for the first time in secular India, a citizenship provision based on religion. When combined with National Register of Citizens (NRC), and National Population Register (NPR), the CAA can strip Indian Muslims of their rights and citizenship.The NRC and NPR also threaten transgender communities, dalits, the homeless, indigenous communities, and others who will not be able to provide necessary documents.We believe that the Indian government’s actions are unconstitutional and fundamentally violate the principles of equality and non-discrimination in a democracy. Continue reading Support for Anti CAA/NRC Struggle from University of South Florida
Statements of support for the students’ struggle against the CAA and NRC continue to pour in. We will try and keep publishing as many as we can. In this post is a statement from the University of British Columbia, Canada.
We, the students, faculty, alumni and scholars of the University of British Columbia, and the South Asian community in Vancouver, strongly condemn the police violence unleashed on students protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens of India, across universities in India. Specifically, we condemn the police brutality on Muslim students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University where the excessive violence of police machinery is reflective of the Islamophobia of the present government. We strongly oppose the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act which inherently discriminates citizenship for Muslims on religious grounds. The Act provides citizenship to six religious minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan while it explicitly leaves out Muslims. Citizenship Amendment Act (passed on December 11, 2019) along with National Register of Citizens of India and National Population Register will bring about systematic displacement and dispossession of two hundred million Muslims in India as their citizenship will be put to test and they can be easily rendered stateless. Continue reading Support for Struggling Students from University of British Columbia
The following is a statement issued by faculty members of South Asian University on the recent police excesses against peacefully protesting students and other citizens.
We, the undersigned teachers of the South Asian University, New Delhi are deeply disturbed by the developments at the Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University in the last few days.
As it is well documented now through the media reports and eye witness accounts of students, on 15 December 2019 police entered the Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University and assaulted and detained the students who were peacefully protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). Continue reading South Asian University Statement in Solidarity with Students and Citizens Protesting CAA and NRC
Support for the students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University is continuously pouring in from different of the world as people watch the horrors perpetrated by the Indian police on unarmed, peacefully protesting students. The following is yet another of an international statements of support.
We, the undersigned, condemn the recent spate of state violence unleashed against students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) by the ruling BJP government. We are students studying in various universities and educational institutions outside of India, and are extremely appalled to see the brazen attack on the democratic rights of students across universities in India. Students of JMI and AMU have been protesting against the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), which enforces a highly selective citizenship criteria based on faith that excludes Muslims and effectively reduces the status of millions of Muslims in India to ‘illegal migrants’. The police have shown zero restraint in their attempt to suppress the agitations and it is clear that the students are violently targeted because of their Muslim identity. Continue reading Another International Statement Condemning State Violence Against Students of JMI and AMU
Following is a statement issued by current and former faculty members and students of the University of Warwick in solidarity with the ongoing struggle of the students against the new citizenship law.
As students, alumni and faculty members of the University of Warwick, we stand in solidarity with all students in India who are engaged in protests against the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. We believe that the right to dissent, protest and demonstrate are fundamental rights integral to all democracies. Articles 19 (1) (a) and 19 (1) (b) of the Indian Constitution explicitly state that the right to protest is a fundamental right. Such a right is safeguarded in international human rights conventions as well.
The peaceful and non-violent demonstrations by students have been met with extraordinary police violence, particularly in Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, with recent reports from established media sources indicating that police and paramilitary forces entered university campuses and hostels by force and brutally attacked students. As a consequence, hundreds of students have been injured, some very seriously. Such police action contravenes both the Constitution of India as well as international human rights laws. We call for an immediate end to state-led violence and for proper action to be taken against the perpetrators of it. Continue reading University of Warwick In Solidarity With Students Protesting the CAA in India
The following is a statement from the alumni of NLU Jodhpur, in solidarity with the students at the receving end of police brutalities in Delhi, Aligarh, Assam and other universities.
We, the undersigned alumni of National Law University, Jodhpur unequivocally condemn the police excesses in response to student protests at Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University, Dibrugarh University, Gauhati University, Cotton University, Assam and other universities across India. As persons with training in constitutional laws and values, we recognize the significance of dissenting speech and assembly, and the need to preserve academic spaces as free from State coercion and militarization and to uphold the values of secularism.
Continue reading Statement in Solidarity with Students, Against Police Excesses from Alumni of National Law University, Jodhpur