“Bushes of lies and mountain of truth”
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
Some political parties and people with “narrow political interests” are spreading misinformation in a particular section of the society regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act, NRC and now the decision to update the National Population Register (NPR). These people are trying to hide the “Mountain of Truth” by “Bushes of Lies”.
If we look at the performance of the Government led by Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi from 2014, we can say that the Modi Government has been committed to “Inclusive Empowerment and Prosperity”.
The Modi Government has been working with commitment to “Development without Discrimination”. The Modi Government has been working to ensure “happiness in eyes and prosperity in life” of every needy person by breaking the barriers of religion and region.
Our Government provided 2 crore houses to poor, 31 per cent beneficiaries are from Minority community. Our Government provided electricity to 6 lakh villages of the country which include more than 39 per cent Minority community villages.
Our Government provided benefits to 22 crore farmers under ‘’KisanSammanNidhi” which include more than 33 per cent farmers belonging to Minority communities. About 37 per cent of more than 8 crore beneficiaries of “UjjwalaYojna” providing free gas connection are Minorities.
Our Government provided easy loans to about 21 crore people under “Mudra Yojna” for economic activities and more than 36 per cent beneficiaries are from Minority communities. Besides, Minorities have also been benefitted significantly from other welfare schemes related to water, electricity, road, education, employment and employment opportunities.
For last 70 years, Minorities especially Muslims had been left far behind in terms of economic and educational development. This is the reason that Minorities are being benefited the most from welfare schemes of the Modi Government.
Clearly, a Prime Minister who has given houses to poor and provided power to their houses without any discrimination, can never take a step to render them homeless, or jeopardize their future. That is why Prime Minister Modi has given a clear message regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill and NRC.
He has made it clear that “the Citizenship Bill is to provide citizenship and not to take away the citizenship of any person”. He has made it clear that there is no question mark or threat to citizenship of any Indian Muslim from the Citizenship Bill or NRC.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill is a Bill to provide citizenship to Minorities facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The Bill will provide citizenship only to a person if he or she wants it. As far as giving Indian citizenship to any Muslim from other countries is concerned, a related provision is already there in the Indian Citizenship Act 1955.
Any foreign national, including Muslims from other countries, can apply and take Indian citizenship under Section 5 of the Indian Citizenship Act 1955.
During the last 5 years, our Government has provided Indian citizenship to more than 500 Muslims from other countries.
The Citizenship Amendment Act has a historical background. The Pant-Mirza Agreement was signed in 1955 i.e., the agreement between the Home Minister of India, PanditGovindBallabh Pant and the Home Minister of Pakistan, Maj General IskanderMirza; under this agreement, it is the responsibility of the Indian Government for protection and preservation of non-Muslim shrines in Pakistan. Besides, the Indian Government has also responsibility to take care of religious and social concerns and interests of non-Muslims in Pakistan.
Minorities’ population in Pakistan, which was about 24 per cent of the total populationduring the Partition, has now been reduced to just 2 per cent due to atrocities and genocide in that country. But earlier Indian Governments did not take any steps in this regard. Those who took shelter here, had been facing the menace of terrorism and also facing hardship of laws in India.
The Modi Government has brought the Citizenship Amendment Bill to provide “humanitarian dignity” to those facing “inhuman humiliation” in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The Bill has nothing to do with any Indian Muslim.
While Minorities are facing injustice and genocide in Pakistan, the Minorities are an equal partner of development process in India. The welfare schemes of the Modi Government aimed at socio-economic-educational empowerment of Minorities have been most effective.
During the last 5 years, the Modi Government has provided different scholarships to about 3 crore 20 lakh needy Minority students which include about 60 per cent girl students. From 2014, more than 8 lakh youths belonging to Minority communities have been provided employment and employment opportunities through various skill development schemes such as “SeekhoaurKamao”, “Usttad”, “NaiManzil”, “Gharib Nawaz Employment Scheme”, “NaiRaushni”.
These include about 50 per cent girls. More than 2 lakh 65 thousand artisans and craftsmen and people associated with them have been provided employment and employment opportunities through “HunarHaat” in the last about 2 years.
While only 90 districts of the country had been identified for Minority communities’ development during the UPA Government; Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi led NDA Government has expanded development programmes for Minorities in 308 districts of the country and 1300 blocks. Infrastructure for Minorities especially for education of girls, is being constructed on war-footing. Under the “Pradhanmantri Jan VikasKarykram” (PMJVK) during the last five years, 33 degree colleges, 1398 school buildings, 40201 additional class rooms, 574 hostels, 81 ITI, 50 polytechnics, 39586 Anganwadi centres, 398 SadbhavnaMandap, 123 residential schools, 570 market sheds, 104 common service centres etc have been developed.
“While Pakistan has become a hell for Minorities, India is a heaven for Minorities”. This reality has become as unacceptable for some divisive forces who are involved in conspiracy to weaken our strength of “Unity in Diversity”.
The NRC process started in Assam in 1951, then the state witnessed agitations and demand to accelerate NRC process in the 1970s.
Then in 2013, the Supreme Court ordered updating the NRC. The NRC process in Assam is still going on. The NRC is just limited to Assam. A draft NRC list was published on 31st August 2019. Those people who didn’t find their names included in the list, are being helped by the Government through NRC service centres, tribunals.
As far as implementation of NRC in other parts of the country is concerned, there is no talk at any level regarding it. But some people have started “horror show and political drama” on the NRC. Some political parties and people with “prejudiced mindset” are misusing a particular section of the society for their “narrow political game of snakes and ladders”.
These people are suffering from “Bankruptcy of Logic” and they are trying to create confusion and rift in the society through their “political propaganda”.
Now, some people are creating confusion even on National Population Register (NPR) and Census. Some political parties are trying to spread misinformation on NPR. Census and NPR is a regular exercise. Census had been conducted in the country in 1951, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011.
The people of the country should understand that those defeated in the democracy are now trying to “hijack Loktantra (democracy) through Gundatantra” (anarchy).
Each and every section of the society is an equal partner of India’s development and prosperity.
It is our “national duty” to ensure that this “Gang of Evils of Misinformation” doesn’t succeed in their nefarious design to weaken our strength of “Unity in Diversity”.
For us, the soil of India is our faith, every person born in this soil will remain here only, there is no question mark or threat to social, religious, constitutional and other rights of any citizen of the country.
This is the reality full of truth, and rest all is “fake fabricated propaganda”.
Let us work together to defeat these “Evils of Misinformation and Fear”.
The writer is the Union Minister for Minority Affairs