While chanting the secularism mantra, seeing everything from the communal prism has become the natural tendency for many in Bharat. The announcement of Home Minister Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha in reply to question that the process of National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be carried out across the country, responded with similar prism. Usual suspects like Mamata Banerjee gave a war cry that she would not allow ‘Bengal’ to be divided on religious lines. Instead of responding to the NRC process irresponsibly and mixing it up with the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill, this fear-mongering strategy of seculars is nothing but the continuation of what they have been doing on the amendment to Article 370 and Jammu-Kashmir, Ladakh bifurcation. While deliberating on this issue we should adopt a national rather than a communal perspective.
As a sovereign nation, we have every right to keep the records of our citizens. Illegal migrants do not just undermine this right but pose a great threat to national security, as observed by the Supreme Court while calling it a case of ‘external aggression and internal disturbance’. This problem soured since the 1980s in Assam, Bengal and Northeastern states but the same seculars dumped it under the carpet to play communal vote-bank politics. The population imbalance altered the democratic outcome of elections and undermined the rights of indigenous populations of these states. Over the period in many parts of Bharat we find spread of these illegal immigrants. Jaipur blast case and incidents of sporadic violence in the bordering areas of West Bengal should have awakened the politicians, but their communal understanding of secularism did not allow them to do so. After the SC monitored NRC in Assam and BJP making it as a part of their vision document, it is possible to address the issue from truly national perspective.
Even before the General Elections 2019, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had declared detect, delete and deport as part of their programme and people have given mandate in favour of the commitments given. The process of NRC will identify the illegal migrants; deleting their names from the voters' lists and deporting them to their country of origin are the next stages. Here, religion is not at all the consideration, though many religious leaders, especially of the Muslim community are trying to spread this fake narrative. They are again influenced and used by the secular communalists. All Muslims of Bharat are not illegal migrants, and they have enough documentary evidence to prove their ancestry, and therefore, the panic is political and artificial. Learning from the NRC exercise and making the nationwide NRC truly citizenship identification exercise is the real challenge. Preparing the Government machinery and citizens for the same is a must to get the desired results.
As far as CAB is concerned, still the final draft is awaited, and hopefully, the concerns of indigenous people from Assam and other Northeastern states will be addressed in the same. Again, rather than seeing it as religious discrimination, religiously persecuted communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are getting a chance to acquire Bharatiya citizenship and it is perfectly in tune with the ethos of Bharat. We did so even after the partition in 1947. Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians, Jains continue to face persecution based on their religious identities in the Islamic countries, and therefore, they are getting this opportunity. The bill will be discussed in the parliament and still, can be questioned in the court of law.
In a democratic country like Bharat, where freedom of religion is a civilisational value, playing a communal card on the issues of illegal migration can be disastrous. Instead, we should nationalise NRC as a movement.