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26 January, 2020 00:00 00 AM

Are the new laws India’s internal affairs?

If tension in India continues it will encourage the communal people to raise their head in Bangladesh not only to disturb the minority but disturb the democratic government
Abdul Gaffar choudhury
Are the new laws India’s internal affairs?

Recently Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited the Emirates. The Gulf News interviewed her and she expressed her opinion about the different aspects of the present Bangladesh situation. She talked to the Gulf News about the Rohingya problem, the production of coal electricity etc. in Bangladesh. The most intriguing question she was asked by the Gulf News was her attitude on the recently passed citizenship (amendment) bill in India. Against this law there has been a mass upsurge in India. This was a difficult question to answer for a Prime Minister of Bangladesh. But Sheikh Hasina used her tact and diplomacy in answering this question. She said that in Bangladesh's view this law was unnecessary. At the same time she said that passing of this law (CAN) is the internal affairs of India. She added that when she visited Delhi last year Indian PM Modi assured her of this law's justifiable application saying that it was their internal affairs.

What was the Bangladesh PM’s answer of to Modi's assertion that the law was their internal affairs we do not know. I hope she informed Modi that this law will affect the neighbouring countries of India including Bangladesh. When the mass atrocities of the Rohingya started Yangon also claimed that this was their internal affairs. They claimed that there was no mass slaughter. But after a while the Supremo of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi had to admit standing in front of the international court that her army her army had actually slaughtered Rohingyan people. At the same time it was proved that it was not an "internal affairs" of Myanmar, because a poor country like Bangladesh had to bear the burden of its 11 lakh Rohingyan refugees. BJP's new citizenship (amendment) bill was passed in the parliament, but many Indian states including West Bengal has refused to implement this law. In the state Jharkhand BJP had a defeat in election because of their unpopularity due to this law. It will affect the lives of the Indian minorities especially Muslims and the Dalits. If they lose citizenship of India or are ousted from their country they will naturally take shelter in neighbouring countries of India, including Bangladesh. After Rohingya, Bangladesh cannot accept another wave of refugees coming from India. If the Indian Muslims are forced to leave India and come to Bangladesh, it will worsen the communal situation in the country. So Indian PM Modi's assertion is not correct that this is their internal affairs.

After BJP came to power what is happening in India now? For allegedly killing a cow and selling its meat, a Muslim family was killed. In other places they are being harassed by BJP workers and supporters. In some states some mosques were under attack. The propaganda was that they were old Hindu temples and should be transformed into a temple again. The great Mysore king Tipu Sultan is respected by all people of all faiths in Mysore for his martyrdom against English invaders. BJP government in the state was trying to erase his name and heroism from the textbook and there was great agitation among people against this decision. BJP could not erase the name of the great hero of the Indian history. The cities and places named after the great Muslim heroes like Aurangabad, Ahmedabad, Afzal Nagar are going to be changed in the order of the BJP government. From the postal stamp Gandhi and Nehru are vanishing and are replaced by Shivaji and Savarkar. To make India a Hindu state and destroy the base of democracy laid by Gandhi and Nehru BJP has left no stones unturned. Now the vast number of democratic people and intellectuals have finally awakened in India. Almost in every state people are protesting against BJP's conspiracy. In Uttar Pradesh alone 13 people were shot dead who were protesting against BJP's policy. Intellectuals, even the film actors and actresses are protesting the communal policy of Modi government.

Perhaps, Modi is trying to become the Donald Trump of India. Trump is also a ultranationalist and his slogan is 'America first'. Trump thinks only white skinned people live in America and nobody else is legal. He banned the citizens of six or seven Muslim countries from visiting America. Like the Pathan Emperor of India Tughluq he tried to erect a wall on the Mexican border spending a huge fund so that nobody could enter into America illegally. He constructed concentration camps to detain refugees and a child was snatched from its Mother's lap to be kept in another camp in inhuman condition. There was huge protest in America and Trump had to retreat from his inhuman policy of forcefully separating children from their mothers. Perhaps following his policy Modi was reported to have ordered constructing similar concentration camps for alleged illegal immigrants in India. Several state governments refused to construct such camps. Modi lost his popularity but is still in power. Facing anger and protest from democratic-minded Indian people whether BJP can transform India into a medieval Hindu state remains to be seen. Our fear is if India, the symbol of democratic Asia collapses and becomes a Hindu state the peace and prosperity of the whole subcontinent will be disturbed. Pakistan is already a communal state. After a bitter struggle BD recovered itself from the communal policies of the past governments. Though torture on minority has stopped but they are not still living in a safe and sound environment.

If tension in India continues it will encourage the communal people to raise their head in Bangladesh not only to disturb the minority but disturb the democratic government also. After the demolition of the Babri mosque in India and the communal riots in Gujrat the-then government of Bangladesh under Ershad took the opportunity and incited communal riots in Chittagong hill tracts and tortured the minorities. Of course the Bangladesh government had to compensate for their loss of property but who can compensate the loss of lives? If this time centering the new amendment of the citizenship law state has to eject their legal citizens also, like 19 lakh people in Assam already in a helpless position it will create tension in Bangladesh again. It is very difficult for Bangladesh to take a stand against BJP government's communal policies, because India has helped Bangladesh in the past and is still a great friend. That is why Hasina government is pursuing a middle path of not annoying Delhi but tactically showing sympathy for the repressed Indian minorities. Hasina said that this law was unnecessary. By this remark she tactfully sympathized with the suffering Indian minorities, but did not express it in definite words.

BJP's another decision, a direct provocation to Hindu minorities in Bangladesh, is to leave the country. The decision is if any Hindu citizen of Bangladesh or Pakistan goes to India they will get immediate Indian citizenship. The other people of other faiths will not get this opportunity. BJP's this decision is not only a racial one it will create division between people of different religions in the subcontinent. It may create communal tension also. The vast majority of people are protesting this medieval divisive policy. People's agitation has forced the Modi government to change their tactics for implementing their laws. They are now telling people that they will not cancel anybody's citizenship. Especially, the Indian Muslims have nothing to fear from this law. But nobody believes their crocodile tears for the minorities. If Bangladesh government cannot protest this policy of the Indian government for the sake of friendship between the two countries there is only one path to resist this communal demon in the subcontinent. The path is a united people's movement against this inhuman law. If the people of these two countries irrespective of their religion and colours and the intellectuals can unite and fight this medieval demon then we can hope that the whole subcontinent will be safe from a dark future. In the last century people were not alerted and Fascism raised its head and destroyed world peace. In this century we cannot allow that demon Fascism to rise again and go for the same destruction.

London, Thursday 23 January, 2020



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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