On Sunday, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, stirred the pot again with debate over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) during his customary Vijaya Dashami address. The RSS chief recalled the massive protests and violence that took place in opposition to CAA and stressed that those were ‘organised violence’. He reiterated that CAA does not oppose any particular religious community and Muslims have been “misled” by “propagating a false notion”.
Warning that those against the CAA are trying to “reignite the conflict” that was stopped due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Bhagwat reminded that the CAB was lawfully passed in the Parliament per the due constitutional process and it is to save those who face discrimination and persecution in neighbouring countries. In the past, a similar explanation of the contentious Citizenship Act has been made by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister as well. The RSS chief also slammed the “anti-national forces” within the country and spoke about the anti-China sentiments that are running throughout the country after the Galwan valley faceoff in which Indian soldiers were martyred.
Mohan Bhagwat on CAA
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said, “The CAA was lawfully passed in the Parliament per the due constitutional process. The law envisaged expediting the process of granting citizenship to our brother and sisters who face discrimination and persecution in some of the neighbouring countries and are displaced to seek refuge in our country. These countries have a history of religious persecution against minorities. CAA does not oppose any particular religious community. But those who wanted to oppose this new law misled our Muslim brothers by propagating a false notion that it was aimed at restricting the Muslim population. Using CAA, opportunists unleashed organised violence in the name of protests. Even before something could be thought out, Corona crept in. In the background, the efforts by rioters and opportunists to reignite the conflict still continue.”
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Mohan Bhagwat on China
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said, “Rising above China economically & strategically. Securing cooperative ties with our neighbours and at international relations is the only way to neutralise the expansionist aspirations of China and our present policies seem to be charting those very horizons. We intend to be friendly with all. This is our nature. But mistaking our benevolence for weakness and attempts to disintegrate or weaken us by sheer brute force is unacceptable. Our reckless detractors should know this by now.”
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What is the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)?
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014. The Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill on December 11, 2019, and President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on December 12.
Anti CAA protest
After the bill was passed by the Parliament, the widespread protest began opposing the Act. The protest took a violent turn when clashes erupted between Delhi Police and Jamia Millia Islamia students. While students allege that Police used brutal force against them and Police allege that students stone-pelted. Thereafter, nationwide protests began against the implementation of CAA and against Police brutality with Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh being the most prominent place. On February 24, clashes also broke out between CAA supporters and opposers and soon turned into a riot, killing 53 people and injuring over 200, as per official records.
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Demanding to scrap the contentious law, Kerala, Rajasthan, Punjab, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal have passed a resolution against CAA. Several other states like Maharashtra have openly opposed CAA-NRC-NPR and Bihar has passed a resolution in favour of old format of NRC
Supreme Court refuses to stay CAA
The Supreme Court heard a batch of over 144 petitions and refused to stay the Act and said that it will only decide when it hears the Centre’s stance on the matter. Chief Justice of India SA Bobde while hearing a petition on August 22 observed, “Country is going through difficult times. As it is, there is a lot of trouble. The object should be to bring about peace. Such petitions don’t help. You know that there is a presumption of constitutionality (of laws). We don’t mean to be offensive but we have never heard of petitions like this asking that Act should be declared constitutional”.
The CAA was first challenged before the Supreme Court on December 12. On January 22, the top court directed the government to file its reply within four weeks and said that the matter will be taken up five weeks after the Centre’s response. It directed the High Court to take up any petition that comes in the meantime.
IUML, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Kerala government, RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi had filed a petition against SC that was together heard by the top court. Several other petitioners include Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, All Assam Students Union (AASU), Peace Party, CPI, NGOs ‘Rihai Manch’ and Citizens Against Hate, advocate M L Sharma, and law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act.
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