Union Home Minister Amit Shah in his concluding remark during his reply in the Lok Sabha on CAB said, ‘NRC toh zaroor ayega’ (NRC is certain to come). This statement is ample proof that NRC and CAB are interlinked and will compliment each other.
India Muslims, who were already uncomfortable since the BJP-led right wing government came to power, are now in panic and running here and there to collect their documentary proofs from everywhere.
“The whole effort of the present regime is to demoralise Indian Muslims and fool Hindus of India. If someone comes from Pakistan and claims that they are Parsi, Muslims can also come in guise of Parsis, but they want to send a message to the majority community that they have made Muslims second class citizens. Till now they have been successful in fooling the majority community,” says Khalid Alvi, lecturer in Delhi University.
Former parliamentarian and editor of popular Urdu weekly, ‘Nai Duniya’, Shahid Siddiqui, minces no word in saying that CAB is the most dangerous step of the current regime.
“This is the most dangerous step of Independent India as we accepted the partition with heavy heart, whether it was Maulana Azad, Maulana Husain Ahmed Madni, Sardar Patel or Mahatma Gandhi. We (Indians) rejected the two-nation theory of Jinnah. We need to keep in mind that two people who advocated the two-nation theory were people like Veer Savarkar, the ideologue of RSS and BJP who gave the term ‘Hindutva’ and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who was the founder of Pakistan.
“These were the two people who said that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations but people like us categorically said that Hinduism and Islam can be two religions, but Hindus and Muslims cannot be two nations. Now, today when the government has come with CAB it is basically advocating the two-nation theory of Jinnah and Savarkar. Today, BJP is implementing the theory of Jinnah. BJP is building an India with Savarkar’s cap and Jinnah’s sherwani,” he said.
“Basically they (the present regime) want to snatch the voting right of the Muslims because they are afraid of Muslim votes as they have a perception that they lose elections because of Muslim votes, but the Hindus of this country who are large hearted will reject these draconian moves of the government. This kind of thinking has ruined countries like Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Any country which will practice politics in the name of religion can never progress; the only countries that progress are which take everyone along,” Shahid added.
A former parliamentarian wrote on his Facebook page “In 1906, when in Africa Indians were being removed from the rolls by registration done by the British, we found Gandhi ji raising his voice against it.
Gandhi ji started a movement that ultimately gave shape to the Indian freedom struggle. It’s our country’s misfortune that Gandhi was killed soon after independence. Today, 72 years later, sharing the same philosophy (of Gandhijis killers), we have 2 people, acting as rulers and trying to hurt his spirit also. NRC and citizenship bill have only one basis: to discriminate against Muslims and remove them from this country. The whole ideology of oneness is being demolished in Gandhi’s own country.”
“The first target of the CAB are Muslims and the second target are Dalits. Their plan is to make this country a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu State),” says Zahid Ali Khan, editor-in-chief of prominent Urdu newspaper of Hyderabad, Siasat.
Says Mohd Naeem, President of NGO, Delhi Youth Welfare Association, “The CAB would serve no purpose other than dividing society. The government is diverting people’s mind from other pressing issues. The purpose of this move could be to create fear and panic among the Muslim community so that their children cannot study and they are unable to concentrate on their daily living. After lynchings, they are doing this just to stop Muslims from making progress.”
There is worry and fear among every class of Indian Muslims. “At this very moment, honestly, I don’t care whether this bill is against Gandhi’s India, threat to secularism, democracy or whatever. All I can see is that crores of Muslims in India are facing genocide. There is no other way to look at it,” says Afreen Fatima, president, Abdullah Girls College, AMU.
Her colleague and president of AMU Students Union, Salman Imtiaz says, “This bill (CAB) is a replica of an Israeli law where only Jews are granted citizenship and believers of Hindutva want to turn our country into another Israel.”
Zahid Ali says the country cannot progress when common men is in problem. “Whatever the present government has done, be it economic issues or social issues, is anti-people. They are taking the country to a stage where people will not get any justice. When common men will not progress, how can nation progress? I would even go so far as to say that now there’s no possibility of the country making any progress. One ideology is being promoted at the cost of the nation.
There is a pan India restlessness among Indian Muslims. “After the passage of CAB in Lok Sabha, the feeling of insecurity has gripped Muslims in Kerala. The Muslims in Kerala are very frightened. Muslims families are discussing what all documents they need for NRC,” says senior journalist M. Hasanul Banna, a native of Kerala. The reason why Hasanul Banna is worried is because he had been witness to NRC process in Assam.
“The question is this that how will they implement NRC and to implement it there will be a software and that software will not accept any spelling mistake in the name of a person or a place. If software will not accept any document with any spelling mistake, he will not be registered. No one can prove after that because software is doing all this. For example, some people write Mohammed with ‘e’ and some write Mohammad with ‘a’. Assam has proved that there’s no way to get around this.
He adds, “The sad and dangerous part is that on one hand Muslims in Kerala are a worried lot whereas non-Muslims show no panic or worry.
The same feeling was visible in Kerala during demonetization. There was a feeling at the time of demonetization that black money of Muslims will be unearthed.”
In Mumbai people protested at Azad Maidan from where a delegation of Muslims went to meet Sharad Pawar and urged him to oppose the CAB.
Danish Reyaz, a senior journalist based in Mumbai, says, “There is no doubt that bill is to promote communal agenda of BJP. The issue is there, people are discussing it and are worried, and the worry is that this discrimination is on religious lines.”
Khalid Nadeem, social activist, who hails from Uttar Pradesh says, “There is fear among Muslims and many of my relatives are busy arranging documentary proof. Muslims are so frightened that instead of opposing this bill they are busy in arranging documents, otherwise they can’t afford to sit on hunger strike for five days or participate in protest rallies as they live hand to mouth. They can go one day but this is a long struggle.”
Shahid Siddiqui says, “We need to see this CAB with NRC. Union Home Minister is regularly stating that NRC will be implemented. After this when Non-Muslims will not be able to prove their citizenship then they will be granted citizenship after this law but what will happen to Indian Muslims who would not be able to give proof of their citizenship, will they be thrown into the sea?
“The purpose of this exercise is to harass the Muslims to such an extent that they forget about everything and concentrate on this only; their children should not study or do anything in life and make them the second-class citizen of India. I don’t see any bright future for India now because the society will remain disturbed. We were hoping that India will be economically very strong by 2020 but now we can see where we stand just a month before 2020. Whatever progress the country had made has been undone and now becoming super-power will just remain a dream.”
Khalid Nadeem says, “There should be maximum opposition of this discriminatory bill as it is not only unconstitutional but has tarnished the image of our country worldwide.”
An optimistic Zahid Ali says, “Muslims should prepare themselves and should collect all documents required for NRC. They (BJP) can’t pull down Muslims from the track with such policies because Muslims have made good progress in field of education and other spheres of life. We should do our preparations and should not lose hope.”
Danish also feels that though there is restlessness in the Muslim community, they need not worry. “I feel that it is an issue for Muslims residing in border states but Muslims residing in other parts of the country have nothing to worry because they have documentary evidence of their residence. The people having family system or community system will not have any problem though in urban cities people with no ancestral background or are cut off from the family system could have issues,” he says.
DU lecturer Khalid Alvi says he has full faith in judiciary of the country.
“My gut feeling is this that court will not allow this bill to pass muster, so Muslims and liberals should take the judicial route,” he says. “I don’t feel that Muslims should panic and it is too premature for Muslims to concentrate on collecting their documentary proofs,” he added.