– Hasan Ferdous*
Ruling party of India BJP Chief Amit Shah has declared that 40 lakh outsiders of Assam would be pushed back to Bangladesh. They are like wood worms; They are eating our country bit by bit. These sort of foreign people is a menace for national security; they are terrorists. Prior to the last national election in a public meeting he declared that steps would be taken by finding out every outsider. He promised this before a few thousand cheerful BJP supporters.
Amit Shah and BJP government has put a step forward in fulfilling their pledge made. Recently citizen list (Nagarikpunji) or National Register of Citizens (NRC) has been published wherein 19 lakh people of Assam have been identified as excluded from the Citizen List. Earlier it was apprehended that about 40 lakh people would be included in this list. Many BJP leaders are displeased on seeing that this number has been decreased to half. BJP Chief in Assam has said “Please wait, this is not the last word. We won’t stop very long to oust every foreigner.”
Comparing the outsiders with woodworms or shabby animals-beasts is not for the first time. US President Donald Trump declared the outsiders from South America as rapists and drug traders without exception. Hungarian Prime Minsiter Orban compared the foreigners with poison. The Army Chief of Myanmar mentioning about the foreign Rohinga women that they are such nasty and ugly that even the Burmese army personnel are not interested to rape them. UK politician Nigel Farage warned that if the foreigners could not be driven the Islamic terrorists would start ‘Jihad’ in Europe.
In straight language the outsiders, be they are refugees or political asylum solicitors- none of them is a real man. As human being they can’t claim any right or dignity. Outsiders coming here have changed our social, religious and cultural features. So they are to be obstructed. By using this fear as political weapon a group of politicians has stepped in Election Campaign. Their anti immigration high-heated talks have become fruitful. Behind the political success of Trump and Obran there lies this anti-immigration attitude.
The success of BJP and Norendra Modi of India is nothing than this practice. Virtually Modi wants to build such a Hindu India wherein only the Hindus would enjoy all the rights as citizens. If the foreigners are Hindus, Modi has no objection against them. All the objections and reservations are in case of Muslims. Without any concealment BJP government has declared that refugees coming from the neighboring countries, may they be Hindus, Buddists or Christians would get shelter in India, but not the Muslims. There is no doubt about it that the only purpose of this Election pledge is to use it for their own political gain by invigorating anti Muslim feelings. Muslims are “foreigners” in India yet today by living there for hundreds of years. By observing the success of Modi-Trump-Orban it can be certainly said that there is no political weapon greater than threat to others even in this 21st century. Immigrants be they legal or illegal everyone has a specific civic rights. There are more than one international laws under which recognition to the rights of the immigrants has been extended. By a resolution UN General Assembly in 1975 called all the Member States to be careful about the protection of the rights of immigrants. UN labor organization ILO and European Union have reminded all member States of their responsibility for safeguarding the rights of foreign workers.
In the national constitutions of most of the democratic countries the rights of the immigrants have been recognized. As in the Section 14 of the Indian Constitution it has been said “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” That means nobody shall be deprived of equal rights in the eye of law and protections of that rights within the border of India.
Exactly with an object of depriving from that rights the BJP government has taken the initiative of preparing National Citizens List. The BJP Chief has pledged to drive outsider by finding out one by one. But where would they be pushed once the pledge starts implementation? We guess that the target of Amit Shah’s threat is Bangladesh. In no way India should be made annoyed- on this principle Bangladesh Government has followed practically the path of shutting its tongue. The Foreign Minister has remarked that the issue is an internal affair of India; so we have nothing to say in this matter. Even intelligentsia column writers also avoided the matter as individual affair of India. But how a issue whereby the citizenship and human rights are involved can become an internal affair of a particular country?
On the same argument Myanmar can pass through even after torturing the Rohinga people to death saying that ‘it is our internal affair’. In the name of rectification/purification China has poured thousands of Uighur Muslims in the concentration camps. So, that is also an internal affair of China. On the plea of national security Australia did not accommodate few thousand refugees in the country and pushed them to Papua New Guinee. That is also an internal matter. In 1971 Pakistan also said that the military actions taken in the name of national security was solely its internal affair.
No, in the eye of international laws none of these arguments stands to reason. Protection and elevation of human rights of every individual in the own border areas is an indispensable element of modern State functioning. In the seventies of the last century the horrible genocide took place in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ruanda and Balkan States; on its reaction the international community got committed to create a new human rights envelop/armor. The name of this armor is Right to Protect R2P- under which the responsibility of security for every citizen of the own country is of the government of the country. When a government fails to carry out that responsibility, the international community reserves fully the rights to interfere there directly.
In case of Assam what has been said about the deprivation of human rights of 19 lakh people is like a lightening followed by thunder. It has been hoped in an analysis in the Prothom Alo that as because those who are black-listed happen mostly to be Hindus, there is no panic, those who won’t get citizenship due to their Muslim identity, they would be given `Work Permit’. So we have nothing to be worried.
I want to remind those person who try to make us confident what Amit Shah remarked “Chun Chun Karke hataye ga.” Those who have been enlisted here, they would not only be marked illegal in the eye of law, they would face social persecution daily. Once in Germany of Hitler identity card was hanged in chest of the jews. As you are a jew, you have no government job, you won’t
get a rented house, your children won’t get admission in the schools. This may also happen in Assam. You are a wood-worm. So you go out. So long you don’t got out, we would reprimand you.
Please look at the today’s America. Illegal foreigners- on this allegation thousands of people are dragged from house. Wife and children are legal, so they can stay in this country. But he who is chief of the family, who has built up a life for long 30 years, who has given out his labor and intelligence- ignoring everything he is being driven out from the country with handcuff. He is being sent to such a country with which he has practically no involvement. Endorsement of such a terrific breach of human rights in national or international laws is not available.
But the laws only can not resist the violation of the rights of the outsider. Appeal-prayer to the politicians won’t work. It needs protest, inside and outside the country. We would hope that Indian Civil Society won’t agree to such a inhuman crime. Measures are to be taken so that the international groups don’t extend consent to it. If BJP takes initiative to implement its Election pledges, these outsider-marked people would be pushed in Bangladesh. We have learned from Rohinga crisis that we have to repent at the end if we remain mum or rely on the bilateral understanding. So this is the time for making protest.E
* Special Correspondent of Prothom Alo in USA.
** Translated into English by ‘The Economy’ Analyst.