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Home > 2024 > CAA: A Tool of Hinduisation of Our Polity | Arup Kumar Sen

Mainstream, VOL 62 No 11, March 16, 2024

CAA: A Tool of Hinduisation of Our Polity | Arup Kumar Sen

Friday 15 March 2024, by Arup Kumar Sen


Just days before the announcement of Lok Sabha elections, the Union Home Ministry notified the Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024 ( on March 11, 2024) to enable implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by the Parliament in 2019. It should be noted in this connection that passing of the CAA triggered nationwide protests in 2019-20 during which more than 100 people reportedly died in police firings and related violence. The Amendment was challenged before the Supreme Court in 2020 by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). More than 200 petitions have been filed thereafter and tagged with the challenge posed by IUML. Why is the CAA controversial? To put it in the words of The Telegraph (March 12, 2024): “The CAA, which attempts to fast-track Indian citizenship for all refugees and asylum seekers from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh except for Muslims, has been accused of violating the secular principles enshrined in the Constitution.” The CAA case is still pending before the Supreme Court. It may be mentioned in this connection that IUML has already moved the Supreme Court seeking stay of the Citizenship Amendment Rules 2024.

The Congress Party questioned the timing of the CAA-related notification, saying that it is “evidently designed” to polarize the elections, especially in West Bengal and Assam. The other opposition parties have also criticized the notification.

The pre-election notification of the Citizenship Amendment Rules 2024 has mixed responses from West Bengal and Assam. The Matua community, settled in North 24 Parganas and other districts in West Bengal, broke into celebrations at Thakurbari, their holy abode in Thakurnagar, North 24 Parganas. Sporting colourful dresses, members of the community, who mostly migrated to India “illegally” from East Bengal after the 1971 Bangladesh War, played drums and distributed sweets. The Union Minister of State and All India Matua Mahasangha head, Shantanu Thakur, rushed to the State BJP office in Kolkata with packets of sweets to celebrate the “historic event.” He said to the media that it is “a historical day for refugees in the country.” However, a note of dissent was recorded by another prominent member of the community - Mamata Bala Thakur, TMC Rajya Sabha MP and prominent member of the All India Matua Mahasangha, said: “We are already citizens of this country. We have Aadhaar and voter cards. We were elected as public representatives being citizens. Besides, a large number of people have lost their documents over the years. How would they prove their citizenship?”
The 16-party United Opposition Forum in Assam called a day-long “total strike” in the State to protest against the “unconstitutional law” that “threatens” the future of the State. The anti-CAA brigade in Assam believes that the implementation of the CAA will lead to an influx, destroying the culture and identity of the Assamese people. This section further believes that the CAA is aimed at granting citizenship to Bengali-origin Hindus left out of the NRC. (See The Telegraph, March 12, 2024)

Whatever may be the motives of the different communities/ethnic groups, celebrating or criticizing the notification of the Citizenship Amendment Rules 2024, there is no doubt in our mind that the said notification issued by the Union Home Ministry is aimed at garnering and consolidating Hindu votes in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

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