A historic perspective to CAA

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Since the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 has been passed by the parliament and assented by the President of India Shri. Ramnath Kovind there have been riots in the name of protest and has sprouted several doubts on the purpose of these protests, the confusions, the hypothesis; the conjectures regarding the Act set the country on fire even before the people got access to the original facts of the Act. There is a delusion that this Act is against the Indian Muslims, it aims to wipe them out of the country and that this is sangh parivar’s effort to redefine Indian nationhood as Hindutva etc’s have created a popular upsurge in the country. It is common to recognize political leaders amongst the protesters, intellectuals, actors and social activists but the most emphatic presence is of the young people of our country who question us as to who we are, amidst the shimmering, diffracting, melding hues and shades that constitute “US”, these are the youngsters who are considered to be the future of our country it is sorrowful that these young men and women instead of dreaming a democratic united India they are in the streets destroying public properties as unethical rioters. As responsible citizens of this great country its our duty to learn about the laws passed by the parliament because Article 51-A, Part IV A of the Constitution of India framed by Dr. B.R.Ambedkar explains about Fundamental duties of the citizens of this country and Article 51A(i) talks about safeguarding public property and to abjure violence. Before believing or if you have already believed the farce against CAA let’s understand the background of CAA.

Background of CAA:

India’s Independence was not a cake walk, there were millions who have been a prey during the communal violence amidst the demand of a separate country, Pakistan which paved way for East Pakistan and West Pakistan which rendered almost one third of the Indian territory to one fifth of the total Muslim population. Exchange of population on both sides of respective religious people could have been a pragmatic consolation of unrealistic and unwarranted partition but unfortunately lack of farsightedness and obsession with defective secularism resulted in unprecedented events. Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee vociferously insisted that let Pakistan ensure the rights of its minorities then we must finalize our draft of minority rights, unfortunately these voices received deaf ears in the constituent assembly and lead to the Nehru-Liaquat pact, 1950. (In case if you didn’t know Liaquat Ali Khan, he was the first PM of Pakistan and was well known as Quaid-e-Millat meaning leader of the nation and leading founder of Pakistan)

Nehru- Liaquat pact, 1950

The governments of India and Pakistan solemnly agree that each shall ensure, to the minorities throughout its territory, complete equality of citizenship, irrespective of religion, a full sense of security in respect of life, culture, property and personal honour, freedom of movement within each country ad freedom of occupation, speech ad worship, subject to law and morality. Members of the minorities shall have equal opportunity with members of the majority community to participate in the public life of their country, to hold political or other office ad to serve in their country’s civil and armed forces. Both governments declare these rights to be fundamental and undertake to enforce them effectively. The Prime minister of India has drawn attention to the fact that these rights are guaranteed to all minorities in India by its constitution. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has pointed out that similar provision exists in the objectives resolution adopted by the constituent assembly of Pakistan. It is the policy of both governments that the enjoyment of these democratic rights shall be assured to all their nationals without distinction. Both governments wish to emphasise that the allegiance ad loyalty of the minorities is to the state of which they are citizens and that it is to the government of their own state that they should look for the redress of their grievances.

India’s first law minister Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is worshiped in India and is honored with the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna but the story of Pakistan’s first law minister is different and it is a story of agony, the throb he had to undergo just because he was not a Muslim, he was Jogendra Nath Mandal popularly known as J.N.madal. One must read the resignation letter of Jogendranath Mandal,

“It is with a heavy heart and a sense of utter frustration at the failure of my lifelong mission to uplift the backward Hindu masses of East Bengal that I feel compelled to tender resignation of my membership of your cabinet. It is proper that I should set forth in detail the reasons which have prompted me to take this decision.

3. After the general elections held in March 1946 Mr. H.S.Suhrawardy became the leader of the League Parliamentary Party in March 1946 and formed the League Ministry in April 1946. I was the only Scheduled Caste member returned on the federation ticket. I was included in Mr. Suhrawardy’s Cabinet. The 16th day of August of that year was observed in Calcutta as ‘The Direct Action Day’ by the Muslim League. It resulted, as you know, in a holocaust. Hindus demanded my resignation from the League Ministry. My life was in peril. I began to receive threatening letters almost every day. But I remained steadfast to my policy. Moreover, I issued an appeal through our journal ‘Jagaran’ to the Scheduled Caste people to keep themselves aloof from the bloody feud between the Congress and the Muslim League even at the risk of my life. I cannot but gratefully acknowledge the fact that I was saved from the wrath of infuriated Hindu mobs by my Caste Hindu neighbours. The Calcutta carnage was followed by the ‘Noakhali Riot’ in October 1946. There, Hindus including Scheduled Castes were killed and hundreds were converted to Islam. Hindu women were raped and abducted. Members of my community also suffered loss of life and property. Immediately after these happenings, I visited Tipperah and Feni and saw some riot-affected areas. The terrible sufferings of Hindus overwhelmed me with grief, but still I continued the policy of co-operation with the Muslim League

8. It may also be mentioned in this connection that I was opposed to the partition of Bengal. In launching a campaign in this regard I had to face not only tremendous resistance from all quarters but also unspeakable abuse, insult and dishonour. With great regret, I recollect those days when 32 crores of Hindus of this Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent turned their back against me and dubbed me as the enemy of Hindus and Hinduism, but I remained undaunted and unmoved in my loyalty to Pakistan.

11. The first incident that shocked me took place at a village called Digharkul near Gopalganj where on the false complaint of a Muslim brutal atrocities were committed on the local Namahsudras. The fact was that a Muslim who was going in a boat attempted to throw his net to catch fish. A Namahsudra who was already there for the same purpose opposed the throwing of the net in his front. This was followed by some altercation and the Muslim got annoyed and went to the nearby Muslim village and made a false complaint that he and a woman in his boat had
been assaulted by the Namahsudras. At that time, the S.D.O. of Gopalganj was passing in a boat through the canal, who without making any enquiry accepted the complaint as true and sent armed police to the spot to punish the Namahsudras. The armed police came and the local Muslims also joined them. They not only raided some houses of the Namahsudras but mercilessly beat both men and women, destroyed their properties and took away valuables. The merciless beating of a pregnant women resulted in abortion on the spot. This brutal action on the part of the local authority created panic over a large area.

12. The second incidence of police oppression took place in early part of 1949 under P.S. Gournadi in the district of Barisal. Here a quarrel took place between two groups of members of a Union Board. One group which was in the good books of the police conspired against the opponents on the plea of their being Communists. On the information
of a threat of attack on the Police Station, the O.C., Gournadi requisitioned armed forces from the headquarters. The Police, helped by the armed forces, then raided a large number of houses in the area, took away valuable properties, even from the house of absentee-owners who were never in politics, far less in the Communist Party. A large number
of persons over a wide area were arrested. Teachers and students of many High English Schools were Communist suspects and unnecessarily harassed. This area being very near to my native village, I was informed of the incident. I wrote to the District Magistrate and the S.P. for an enquiry. A section of the local people also prayed for an enquiry by the S.D.O. But no enquiry was held. Even my letters to the District authorities were not acknowledged. I then brought this matter to the notice of the highest Authority in Pakistan, including yourself but to no avail.

22. During my nine days’ stay at Dacca, I visited most of the riot-affected areas of the city and suburbs. I visited Mirpur also under P.S. Tejgaon. The news of the killing of hundreds of innocent Hindus in trains, on railway lines between Dacca and Narayanganj, and Dacca and Chittagong gave me the rudest shock. On the second day of Dacca riot, I met the Chief Minister of East Bengal and requested him to issue immediate instructions to the District authorities to take all precautionary measures to prevent spreading of the riot in district towns and rural areas. On the 20th February 1950, I reached Barisal town and was astounded to know of the happenings in Barisal. In the District town, a number of Hindu houses were burnt and a large number of Hindus killed. I visited almost all riot-affected areas in the District. I was simply puzzled to find the havoc wrought by the Muslim rioters even at places like Kasipur, Madhabpasha and Lakutia which were within a radius of six miles from the District town and were connected with motorable roads. At the Madhabpasha Zamindar’s house, about 200 people were killed and 40
injured. A place, called Muladi, witnessed a dreadful hell. At Muladi Bandar alone, the number killed would total more than three hundred, as was reported to me by the local Muslims including some officers. I visited Muladi village also, where I found skeletons of dead bodies at some places. I found dogs and vultures eating corpses on the river-side.
I got the information there that after the whole-scale killing of all adult males, all the young girls were distributed among the ringleaders of the miscreants. At a place called Kaibartakhali under P.S. Rajapur, 63 persons were killed. Hindu houses within a stone’s throw distance from the said thana office were looted, burnt and inmates killed. All Hindu shops of Babuganj Bazar were looted and then burnt and a large number of Hindus were killed. From detailed information received, the conservative estimate of casualties was placed at 2,500 killed in the District of Barisal alone. Total casualties of Dacca and East Bengal riot were estimated to be in the neighbourhood of 10,000 killed. The lamentation of women and children who had lost their all including near and dear ones melted my heart. I only asked myself “What was coming to Pakistan in the name of Islam.”

27. I would like to reiterate in this connection my firm conviction that East Bengal Govt. is still following the well-planned policy of squeezing Hindus out of the Province. In my discussion with you on more than one occasion, I gave expression to this view of mine. I must say that this policy of driving out Hindus from Pakistan has succeeded completely in West Pakistan and is nearing completion in East Pakistan too. The appointment of D.N.Barari as a Minister and the East Bengal Government’s unceremonious objection to my recommendation in this regard strictly conform to name of what they call an Islamic State. Pakistan has not given the Hindus entire satisfaction and a full sense of security. They now want to get rid of the Hindu intelligentsia so that the political, economic and social life of Pakistan may not in any way be influenced by them.

34. Now this being in brief the overall picture of Pakistan so far as the Hindus are concerned, I shall not be unjustified in stating that Hindus of Pakistan have to all intents and purposes been rendered “Stateless” in their own houses. They have no other fault than that they profess the Hindu religion. Declarations are being repeatedly made by Muslim League leaders that Pakistan is and shall be an Islamic State. Islam is being offered as the sovereign remedy for all earthly evils”

-J. N. Mandal, 8th October 1950

J.N. Mandal helped the Muslim league getting districts like Syhelt in Assam by mobilizing his support in their favor. Ironically he died as a Bengali Hindu refugee in Indian state of West Bengal after resigning from the Cabinet of Pakistan on 8th October, 1950. His resignation letter to the prime minister of Pakistan descries everything about the nature and scale of serious atrocities that were inflicted to minorities in Pakistan. The death of first law minister of Pakistan as a refugee in India is a testimony of the failure of Pakistan in fulfilling its responsibilities towards it minorities. In the case of Pakistan’s failure to ensure the rights of minorities, they become a responsibility of India as a part of an obligation of partition and cannot be left to perish or convert without their free consent.

On May 16, 2019 Noel Malik, political activist and member of Pakistan Minorities alliance said, “They (minorities) are not secure, there is no safety. Discrimination and persecution is widespread, blasphemy laws are still there. In fact, I feel the situation is deteriorating everyday and minorities are finding it hard to sustain in Pakistan. There is a fear that blasphemy law in Pakistan is being misused and you cannot talk about your rights there. A person who is born in a country wants all rights, safety and freedom like everybody else. Discrimination against minorities should end. Chaos strikes and violence gripped the country after Asia bibi verdict. The people who are involved in such acts are very powerful. Everybody knows how competent the government is at controlling such forces.”

On March 25th, 2019 India had sent a verbale note to Pakistan’s Foreign Office after reports emerged of two minor girls of Hindu community were being abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and married off to Muslim men. The matter came to light when disturbing videos of those two girls who were allegedly kidnapped and converted to Islam on Holi eve emerged. The two sisters are from village Hafiz Salman near the town of Dahraki in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh. The abduction was allegedly carried out by people from Kohar and Malik tribes. The marriage was admitted by Maulvi who carried the illegal ceremony and the cleric conspired that the girls were inspired by Islam and alleged that their family is spreading false propaganda and is threatening their lives. This matter was escalated when the distraught father of the girls sat in protest. A video of him wailing and crying for justice had shook many in Pakistan and across the globe. The girl’s father and brother said that the two sisters were abducted and forced to convert. On March 20th, 2019 another Hindu girl named Shania from Mirpurkhas in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh was reported to be abducted and was forcefully converted to Islam. This incident also led to a twitter battle between the then EAM of India Lt. Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Federal Minister for I&B Fawad Hussain Chaudhry for the same.

All these incidents at Pakistan are not only atrocities against minorities but it does violate Human rights, in Asia Bibi case the Human Rights watch said, “The blasphemy related violence against religious minorities fostered in parts by the government’s persecution and discriminatory laws is frequent.” The European Parliament in 2019, released a report, “Religious Minorities in Pakistan” in Brussels which was complied by EU parliamentarians Alerto Cirio, Fulvio Martusciello, Ryszard Czarnecki, Indrek Tarand ad Heinz K Becker, the report says, “Vandalism is also common as Hindu temples have been destroyed. Every year incidents of desecration and illegal encroachments of temples lead to fear with official’s giving false promises of rebuilding them. In addition, in some areas extremist groups threaten minorities such as Sikhs to leave unless they pay a yearly tax, historically imposed on Muslim residing In Muslim lands. Other incidents of violence and discrimination include the attacks and disappearances of Shia men from their homes at night by security forces. This has led to religious minorities fleeing their homes or even the country. Women from religious minority community are victims of religious violence ad persecution. They are subject to abductions, rape and forced marriages of underage girls have been reported in higher numbers of international NGO’s around 1000 girls from religious minority communities are forcibly converted to Islam every year.

It is a well known fact that the 1971 army repression in Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) resulted in a influx of 10 million refugees into India. The world renowned relief and news agencies numbered dead at 3 million. However a fact is glossed over in these statistics, the entire Hindu Population of East Pakistan was the primary target of Pakistan army during the 9 month of repression in 1971. 80%of the refugees and the killed 3 million were Hindus. Thus it was Hindu refugee problem and it was a Hindu Genocide that took place in East Pakistan in 1971.

Senator Edward Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist of killing fields was a New York Times correspondent in Dhaka in 1971 at the time of army repression and during the 1971 Bangladesh war. In his syndicated Column
The Pakistani slaughter that Nixon ignored” reported the following details about refuges from Bangladesh in 1971. As of October 25, 1971, 9.5 million refugees from East Pakistan had crossed over to India. The average influx as of October 1971 was 10,645 refugees a day. Hence the total refugee population at the start of Bangladesh war on December 3, 1971 was about 10 million. He further mentions that government of India had set up separate refugee camps for Hindus and Muslims where possible i.e., refugee camps of Hindus were located in Hindu majority areas and similarly Muslim camps were located in Muslim majority areas. The communal representation of refugees was 80% Hindu, 15% Muslim and 5% Christians and others. This means majority of the refugees were Hindus, other fact that corroborates this is that Sen. Kennedy had asked several chief relief officers in charge of refugee camps what was needed most urgently, their reply was “CREMATORIUMS”.

This is an uncanny resemblance to the persecution of & Holocaust of Jews by the Nazis. The then Indian government (by Lt. Indira Gandhi) had controlled the secular media deliberately hid the sister truth of Hindu Genocide in East Pakistan. CAA safeguards fellow minorities in these countries who have become scapegoats and are liquidated at the first chance by the communal governments. The government of India relied on Article 11 part II of the constitution which specifically empowers the parliament to frame a detailed framework for India’s citizenship. With that mandate, citizenship Act, 1955 saw the light of the day.

References:

  1. https://m.economictimes.com/news/international/world-news/pakistans-christian-community-languishes-as-imran-khan-government-busy-on-kashmir/articleshow/71071410.cms
  2. https://m.economictimes.com/news/international/world-news/pakistan-institutionalised-discrimination-against-minority-groups-eu-parliament-report/articleshow/69329724.cms
  3. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/religious-freedom-of-minorities-in-pakistan-under-threat-un-panel/articleshow/72722571.cms
  4. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/sushma-swaraj-has-a-twitter-spat-with-pakistan-minister-over-minorities-fawad-hussain-2012056
  5. http://www.spmrf.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/White-Paper-on-Citizenship-Amendment-Bill.pdf

(All views are personal.)

Comments