BJP president, Jagat Prakash Nadda released the Assam BJP party manifesto days ahead for the first phase of the elections on Tuesday, March 23. He also declared that the “Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has been passed by the Parliament and it is to be implemented, it will be implemented in letter and spirit.”
In the Assam manifesto, BJP has also promised a ‘correct NRC’ along with jobs for the youth and cycles for girl students.
The announcement of the CAA is not greeted with enthusiasm among the Assamese people for there is a large influx of refugees in Assam and they see that as a potential threat to drown out their culture.
However, in the rest of India, the CAA is resisted for different reasons, basically a fear among all people that if they cannot prove their citizenships through ancestral family papers, which incidentally, very few will have, millions may be thrown to detention camps, which have already been built.
On 27 November 2019, the Government disclosed that 1043 people were housed in six detention centers in Assam. The existing centers are currently being run from the district jail premises at Dibrugarh, Silchar, Tezpur, Jorhat, Kokrajhar, and Goalpara in Assam, so this is setting up a stir in Assam.
The provisions of the Bill were as follows: In 2016, the Bill was introduced to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. The 2019 Bill seeks to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship. It exempts Muslims and certain areas in the North-East from this provision.
The Citizenship Amendment Act is considered to be axing the soul of secular India by exempting a community (Muslims) from a law for the first time. It is argued that there are no borders or absolutes on who might need refuge. A Muslim may be equally persecuted in another country, thus to base citizenship on religion is squashing equality, fraternity and religious harmony.
On quoting Justice Richard Goldstone, Honorary President of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, he stated that the law was constitutionally groundless weakening India’s most basic tenets. ‘The CAA causes deep concern for those who, for many years, have admired the implementation of the rule of law and the recognition of the equality of all the people of India. The Constitution of India provides for “a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic.” To discriminate against immigrants on the basis of their faith is inimical to both a secular and a democratic state. Its constitutionality must clearly be doubted,’ he says. ‘The CAA is a serious blemish on the hitherto proud record of democracy in India.’
The effect of the Bill was an escalation of Hindu nationalism and anti-Muslim sentiment. Hundreds of thousands of people have protested against the CAA, in demonstrations that have been met at times by violent police response. Some protests have led to riots. Scores have been injured and more than 34 people have been killed. The Delhi riots were triggered by the CAA protests and 51 people were killed in these.
Thus JP Nadda’s statements of implementing CAA to a resisting Assamese population may guarantee the loss of the BJP-ruled state Assam, in the upcoming elections.