Dear PM Modi, Are you telling Muslims to leave India?

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Today I called my housemaid in India and inquired about her well-being. Her first response was: ‘Ye log Musalaman ko Desh chor ke Janey ko bol rahey hain. (They are telling Muslims to leave India.) I was dumbfounded.

Ye log Musalaman ko Desh chor ke Janey ko bol rahey hain.

She lives in Aligarh and survives upon hardships of cleaning households every day. She is a migrant from Bihar with no house of her own or any piece of land anywhere. No question of school certificate! She even doesn’t know when and where she was born.

Main kahan se apne hindustani hone ka parman patra laon? Main apne dada pardada ko kahan dudhu aur poochun ke wo kab se Bharat mein rah raheny hain?

Her painful expression moved me: “Main kahan se apne hindustani hone ka parman patra laon? Main apne dada pardada ko kahan dudhu aur poochun ke wo kab se Bharat mein rah raheny hain?” (From where should I obtain certificates to prove my citizenship of India? Where did I go and search my grandfathers to ask them for how long had they been in India?”

This is not an isolated case of fear. There is a report from a remote village in West Bengal where a 32-year-old brick factory worker took his own life. “He promised he would look after us forever,” says his wife, Bibi. “But after he heard about NRC, everything changed and he fell into deep despair. He told me: all Muslims are going to be driven from India now. They will lock us up or just kill us. Just wait and see.” (They will lock us up or just kill us: Muslims fearful in West Bengal, The Guardian 12 Dec. 2019)

NRC (National Register of Citizens) coupled with CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) is truly distressing and terrifying to Muslims in India. They are a gun to Muslims’ head now.

Majority of people, particularly those who are Below Poverty Line (BPL), will surely fail to produce documents…but one being Hindu, would get through. Being a Muslim, one would be sent to the detention camp.

Whether or no document, this law makes Muslims alien in their own country. A retired soldier and a former President’s family members are excluded from the NRC list in Assam.

I, being a holder of Indian passport, am not sure of myself if I would be able to get through. The criteria for documents to prove citizenship exclude a wide range of certificates.

Driving license, PAN card, Adhaar Card, Bank Accounts and so on are not enough to help one get registered in the NRC. The process is lengthy and painful. One Hindu family from Assam had to spend over 40,000 rupees to obtain required documents.

The Economic Times of India published a guideline for documents to submit:

  1. Simply being born in India or having parents who were born in India is not enough. The NRC also requires you or your parents to have been born before a certain cut-off date.
  2. You have to prove that your ancestors entered India before March 24, 1971, the eve of the Bangladesh War. You can be born in India in 1971, to parents who crossed the border that year and still be considered a foreigner at the age of 48.
  3. You don’t qualify as an Indian citizen even if your grandparents and parents and you yourself have lived in India before 1971. You have to prove you are their grandchild or child.
  4. Birth certificates issued by any authority other than the health department will not be accepted. Certificates made more than a year after birth may also be rejected.

As a Muslim, even if I try to obtain those required documents, can I easily get them from offices knowing the fact that CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) has now become a law which excludes Muslims? Will officials pay attention to our needs? What about millions of poor, illiterate and homeless Muslims?

For the past seven years, due to personal reasons, I have not travelled back to India from Libya. We cannot predict what rule the Government of India might formulate to exclude us. They might come up with an idea that those Muslims who stayed outside India for more than 5 years are not eligible to get in the NRC.

Since consultation and consensus by the Government of India are missing with the public over policies, one never knows what next law might be enacted with regard to Muslims. This is absolutely disheartening and totally unacceptable.

While BJP has publicly spoken of deportation, this is impossible because neither Bangladesh, Pakistan nor Afghanistan will ever agree to take them. It will similarly be too costly and impractical to keep everyone in prisons.

One suggestion, already being proposed to companies in Assam, is that the detainees could be used as a huge cheap labour force in factories and industrial plants…thus reducing Muslims to Second Class Citizen in India.

I never imagined…India would ever enact such a regressive Law in the 21st Century to persecute her own citizens (Muslims) in the name of protecting other minorities from persecution abroad.

This is not the Idea of India our forefathers had envisioned. This is not the teaching of our Hindi culture in whose lap we have grown up. Somewhere something is wrong and the country is fast slipping into a direction unknown.

Hope our enlightened youths in whose hands the future of India lies, will rise above and never allow mindlessness to take over sanity. Hope our enlightened Hindu brothers shed tears at the murder of our constitution and its pluralistic ethos.

Publisher’s Note

The Indian Home Minister and the Indian Government had, since December 19th, 2019, denying the fact that a Nationwide NRC has been planned and published Ads in multiple Hindi and Urdu Newspaper stating that the information of nationwide implementation is false and no Muslim should worry about this. However, it is the Home Minister Amit Shah who had on multiple occasions repeated that the NRC will be rolled out Nationwide. The BJP and specifically Amit Shah have announced on multiple occasions that an all-India NRC will be drawn up. In fact, during the Lok Sabha debate on the Citizenship Amendment Bill on December 9, Amit Shah forcefully declared, wagging his finger at the chair, “Maan ke chaliye, NRC aane wala hai”. (Take it as a given: the NRC is going to come).

Union defence minister Rajnath Singh echoed Shah’s stand at another election rally in Bokaro. “We will implement the NRC across all states of the country. Every Indian has a right to know who the illegal immigrants in their land are. Some parties accuse us of being communal,” he said.

Below is the Tweet from BJP’s Official Twitter Handle which has now been deleted:

BJP Tweet Amit Shah Implement NRC in Entire Country Now Deleted
BJP’s Tweet from April 11 clarifying Amit Shahs Stand on Implementation of NRC in Entire Country which is now Deleted

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