Citizenship and Related Issues

[op-ed snap] Many mutinies: On protests against amended citizenship law

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : CAA - analysis

Context

Assam and the other Northeastern States erupted in revolt against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). 

North East

  • Diversity – The Northeast is inhabited by diverse populations, sharing borders with several neighbors. 
  • Politics of the region – Assertive ethnic politics, secessionism, and resistance to migration into the region, has been a defining character of the area. 
  • Genuine grievances – Grievances of indigenous populations are genuine. It is difficult to try to resolve them by privileging one group over another. 
  • Mindless application of religion – Applying a religious test to such an exercise is mindless and dangerous. 
  • Managing diversity – The Northeast’s ethnic divergences have been delicately managed with the collaboration of local power-brokers and grant of special property and cultural rights to communities. 
  • Invoking faultlines – CAA aggravated dormant faultlines and inflames new passions. It has wrecked the Assam Accord of 1985 and exhumed sleeping hostilities.

 Upholding diversity

  • The government announced its commitment to the cultural and linguistic rights of Northeast communities.
  • What it takes – meaningful gestures are needed to hold together diverse populations in the pursuit of common goals. 

India – superpower

  • The government has to understand that triggering numerous mutinies across the nation is an impossible route to be a superpower. 
  • Kashmir – the subterfuge on Kashmir involved responsible government functionaries lying to the public. 
  • BJP in NE –  the party is in power in all seven States. In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, it won a majority of the region’s 25 seats. It mistook its victories for approval of its Hindutva politics. 
  • Hindutva – it seeks to subordinate all identities to an overarching Hindu identity. But societies cannot be shoehorned into such narrow politics. 
  • CAA’s intent – The CAA seeks to provide a legal route to the politics of turning the Northeast’s ethnic faultlines into a religious one, by excluding Muslims alone. 
  • It pits Bengali-speaking Hindus who have moved around in the region against their Muslim counterparts.

Conclusion

The government must undo the misadventure of CAA. It must show courage and hold back, and the leadership must demonstrate statesmanship.

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