CAB is a clear cut example of how those in power use, manipulate and trick facts according to their own suitability.
72 years into Independence, the government created a fresh definition of citizenship which undermines the core principles laid by the founding fathers of the Indian Constitution. Led by Home Minister Amit Shah, backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and applauded by an array of allies, the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 sailed through both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Formed on the back of lies ushered by a Cabinet minister and appreciated by his colleagues on the floor of the house, CAB is a clear cut example of how those in power use, manipulate and trick facts according to their own suitability.
Tabling the bill in Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Shah, augmented by a brute majority went on a lying spree to quote how Congress was responsible for the CAB in the first place. In his whataboutery 101, the home minister said, “You want to know why this bill is necessary. If Congress had not divided this country on the basis of religion, there would be no need to bring in this bill. It was the Congress that divided the country into religious lines, not us.” A de-facto white lie, easily discarded by several historical records. The alleged “Chanakya” in his zeal to speak in the house pushed the lie amid a massive uproar.
The truth, however, stands that it was Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s Muslim League that called for a separate state for Muslims. The demand rejected by Congress which later gave Muslims and other minorities a choice to stay with either India or Pakistan instead of making that decision for them.
The government then stated on record that the bill will benefit lakhs and crores of persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, without quoting any specific figures. Shah further boasted that Pakistan and Bangladesh have seen a decline of up to 20 percentage points in their populations of religious minorities. According to a report published by India Today, the claims do not stand the test of time and appear faulty. “There is no authentic and reliable official data on the religious composition of Pakistan’s population in 1947. While presenting the data on the religious composition of Pakistan in 1947 in his speech, Home Minister Amit Shah did not mention his source either,” the report cleared.
The continuous funneling of lies by the ruling elite without any checks and balances from within the ranks in the Parliament shows the incompetence of the Opposition in countering the facts, no matter how brazen. Already facing a tough time in pushing for legislation, the opposition leaders barring a few fail to put up a brave face. The opposition lacks the gumption to question those in power and form a joint coalition to take on the government. This has emboldened the ruling party to jump rules, twist facts and play dumb as and when needs.
While the CAB will now be legally scrutinised and is set to land at the Supreme Court, the battleground is set for a nationwide NRC. And the new “normalcy” has shifted to the north-east with the internet shut, army deployed and information curtailed.