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Double Speak


Some foreign TV news channels are presenting the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Assam and Tripura as though these are against the exclusion of Muslims from the law. This is obviously not the case. The people in the North East, who have suffered for decades from the intrusion by refugees and migrants from Bangladesh, leading to serious demographic changes and clashes, do not want any migrant, Hindu or Muslim, to settle on ‘their’ lands. However, the foreign media would have it appear as though the protests are against the ‘communal’ approach of the ruling NDA at the Centre.
In Parliament, however, the so called secular parties were all up worked up about the exclusion of Muslims. The BJP, too, mentioned only in passing while presenting its case that the bill would continue to allow Muslims to apply for citizenship, because it wanted the nation to see how ‘anti-Hindu’ these parties are. Both, the foreign media and the BJP, in their presentation of the facts have attempted to create a perception that suits them. In the modern day context, the general public needs to be aware of such subtle psychological manipulation.
The opposition parties, on their part, continue to project the NRC in Assam and that which is being proposed for the rest of the country, as anti-Muslim and part of a ‘Hindu-Rashtra’ agenda of the BJP. The truth is that the Supreme Court monitored NRC exercise has been massively bungled in Assam by the administration and there can be no question of implementing it, elsewhere, in similar manner. Once again, it has to do with identifying foreign infiltrators and has nothing to do with Indian Muslims. Even so a fear psychosis is being sought to be generated. Those who would like the community in a fearful state of mind so that it can be corralled into votebanks and also radical Islamist objectives are happy to further this narrative. ‘Constitutionality’ and humanitarianism have nothing to do with it. As such, the Muslims need also to beware of such manipulation, as the consequent polarisation is not in their interest.
And, of course, there is the narrative being pushed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal as the ‘standard bearer’ of federalism and secularism. This, unfortunately, conceals the desperate truth that she can no longer win an election without the votes of the migrant population from Bangladesh, which has been put on the electoral rolls by the Communists, earlier, and the TMC in the present. The NRC would be a catastrophe for her. But, for the media, she remains a courageous icon of constitutionalism. People can choose to support any of these parties, but they must be careful to view the floated narratives with a skeptical eye.