DESPARDES — A snowballing of Hindu nationalism is adding to the changing face of one of the biggest democracies of the region: as it rejects inclusivity and supports exclusivity of Hindus amid downward spiral of its economy.
First was the rubbishing of Article 370 of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) as well as Article 35-A, the inflicting of cruelty upon the residents of IOK with the aim to change the demographic structure of the occupied Himalayan valley.
India’s central government led by PM Narendra Modi has already picked an area covering 15,000 acres- situated mostly next to streams and rivers to attract foreign investors.
Then came the Babri Masjid verdict, and now the Citizen Amendment Act 2019 (CAA). The common thread shared by the three is their anti-Muslim veneer.
How are independent observers reacting?
On December 25, 2019, Ashutosh Varshney, Professor of Political Science and Director Center for Contemporary South Asia, Brown University and Columnist at The Indian Express tweeted: ‘HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACT ABOUT INDIA TODAY. DELHI, UP, GUJARAT AND KARNATAKA LOOK LIKE BJP TERRITORY, BUT MOST OF THE REMAINING INDIA HAS SLIPPED AWAY FROM BJP’S GRASP. EVEN IF PROTESTS MELT AWAY, FEDERALISM IS HITTING BACK AGAINST BJP’S ONLY-ONE-KIND-OF-INDIA PLAN.’
Michael Kugelman, a senior associate at Wilson Center on December 21, 2019 tweeted: ’23 people have now died across #India in the ongoing protests against the CAA. They are increasingly large and increasingly deadly. Make no mistake: A government that was wildly popular for more than five years now has a huge political mess on its hands.’
How has the contentious law delivered amid countrywide protests which include deaths?
According to the records of the Intelligence Bureau cited, the immediate benefits of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are ‘31,313 people. These include 25,447 Hindus, 5,807 Sikhs, 55 Christians, 2 Buddhists, and 2 Parsis. ‘(Deccan Herald, 15th December 2019 & Tripathi Rahul 23rd December 2019).
What’s behind the contentious amendment to India’s Citizenship Act as approved by Modi-led government?
CAA allows immigrants to become citizens based on their religious beliefs. The benefit extends to Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, and Christians who seek or sought shelter in India before 31st December 2014 including the stated date. The law specifically excludes Muslims. Muslims from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are also excluded from seeking Indian Citizenship under the new Act.
The original report appeared in Al-Bilad Daily English