NRC Report: the new Ram Mandir

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has dug a gold mine in the National Register of Citizens’ Report in Assam, if hitherto communal plots to win elections by polarising voters by the war cry “Mandir wahi banaiyenge’’ and the memories of the Gujarat genocide of 2002 fades into oblivion.

Nowadays there is a shift in the campaign process of the BJP, with the party failing to announce a date to the citizens of India on the ‘Ram Mandir’ inauguration in Ayodha. People are fed up of dates and low on patience as far as this government is concerned. And then, elections are around the corner.

Every political party needs a strategy to woo its voters and this time BJP has hit the bulls eye at the cost of humanity and lives lost. But then, did lives ever matter for the BJP (considering its sketchy record in hosting riots and genocides across the country)?

The NRC is a bigger and better electoral campaign propaganda than the ‘Ram Mandir’ to a largely uneducated electorate who feel validated with slogans like ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ – even as their stomachs are churning with hunger. The youth of the country remain disillusioned with shallow promises of employment. Therefore, the rhetoric of ‘nationalism’ should surely keep them engaged till the elections at least, and they have even deliberated upon the slogan, “ghuspatiyon ko nikalo” (throw the migrants out) and “India for Indians”.

Since when did human beings become illegal?

According to definition, refugees are people forced to flee their country of origin because of persecution, war or violence.

The refugee crisis is a global one, and now there are more people on the move than ever before.  According to statistics, every minute 20 people around the world are newly displaced, half of the worlds refugees are children and thousands take flight without the protection of parents or other family members.

According to the United Nations, more than a million people had crossed into Europe in 2015.

Most people on the move are from poor countries and mostly seek safety in nearby developing countries or within their own country’s borders, the communities who welcome them are often struggling to survive themselves.

In 2016, 5,096 people died or went missing while trying to enter Europe and more than 3,081 people lost their lives in 2017.

At this point in time we cannot shift the blame entirely on European countries considering that countries like Saudia Arabia, Qatar and UAE can easily rehabilitate refugees if they decide to.

Donald Trump has previously used the term ‘Illegal Immigration’ for a ‘refugee crisis’.

The NRC report Assam has opened a ‘tinder box’ which is a legacy of the Partition in which Bengal was divided in 1947. The question we need to ask is why don’t the refugees from 1971 have a right to settle in India?

Recently, Noam Chomsky, the  world renowned political dissident, author and professor stated that “Taking children away from their parents, sending them off somewhere, losing track of them, it’s hard to think of a more brutal and sadistic policy”.

So it’s indeed shameful when BJP leaders were caught making loose comments regarding the NRC report recently. “Intellectuals should be shot” – so said a BJP leader. Another BJP leader said that whoever is not on the NRC should be shot, with “shot” appearing twice in a time frame of ten days in the verbiage of BJP leaders.

To that I have a question to all those labelling the 40 lakh people to prove their ancestry as illegal immigrants – can any Indian prove their ancestry themselves?

The real humanitarian challenge we face now is, how India would deal with this mammoth humanitarian problem which will leave 40 lakh plus people stateless.

BJP playing the polarisation card ahead of 2019 is no secret if we deliberate upon the fact that an intensive revision of voters list of 1985 and 1997 showed that 3.5 lakh votes were dropped. Then how did the list drop another 36.5 lakh people?

The interesting thing is that descendants of a former President of India and army veterans too don’t find their names in the list. Retired Army Officer Azmal Haque who served the country for 30 years finds that his name is not in the NRC list.

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has only one card left – and that is stoking the communal card. The BJP is pretending to be oblivious to the fact that people who have been living in the country for 40 years cannot be termed as illegal immigrants anymore. Their final trump card is to polarise voters to deflect attention away from hollow promises of development.

We also need to note how certain television channels are terming the people left out of the list as ‘infiltrators’ and on Hindi channels the term is worse – ‘ghuspatiye’, as the final status of the names that were left out would be decided by the “foreigners tribunal”. The list is not discriminatory to Muslims alone. According to reports an estimated 1,00,000 Gorkhas of Assam were left out of the NRC draft. Most happen to be descendants of soldiers of the Assam Rifles.

The focus of the NRC report is to target ‘Bengalis’ – a community that the BJP despises because of the Bengali community’s legacy of resistance and intellect. And the BJP is wallowing in glee with the term ‘ghuspatiye’ perfectly well and law abiding citizens’ names too are missing from the list as reported.

Today, a globe-trotting riot monger has the audacity to ask the Bengali community in Assam about their Indian status when these very documents were not asked for from their forefathers.

Not only that, the BJP has for long targeted the minorities, dalits and intellectuals – be it hitting out at prestigious universities, torturing the dalits or plotting ways of disenfranchising Muslims in India.

The BJP from its stable has produced scams like the demonitization and GST where implementation of such shoddy overnight ideations resulted in chaos and mayhem.

If one talks to the locals in Assam one can fully understand that this time Bengalis are being made to face the brunt of this attack – whether they are Hindus or Muslims – and India should not fall into this devious trap set up for fools.

Laypersons would also not know that India has no deportation treaty with Bangladesh, and for a country to accept deportees one needs a treaty in place. But the BJP to create panic and to invoke a riot like situation for hate mongers and chauvinists are lapping it up with glee – that finally “illegal” Bangladeshis will be deported, and Bharat Mata Ki Jai for that!

[The views expressed belong solely to the author, and may not reflect the opinions of the editorial team]

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