AAP gives its nod to prosecute Kanhaiya and Others in the JNU Sedition Row

On 20th February, the Delhi government gave its green signal to the Delhi police to conduct legal proceedings on former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and 9 others in connection with the 2016 Sedition Case.

Crux of the Matter

On 14 January the police filed a charge sheet against Kanhaiya, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and other students for leading a procession that raised the seditious slogans on the JNU campus during an event on 9 February 2016.

The BJP has repeatedly alleged the AAP government for not allowing the proceedings in the JNU case. Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari said, “the Kejriwal government perhaps gave the approval in view of the current political situation.” However, Aam Aadmi Party has denied the allegations of blocking the proceedings in the matter. AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said, “the Law Department of the Delhi government has given its opinion on this matter to the Home Department after due diligence.”

After this move, Kanhaiya and Umar Khalid tweeted their response and asked the Delhi police to ensure speedy justice.

Appointed by the Delhi government, Rahul Mehra will be fighting the case for Delhi Police. Many have brought up his staunch support for Kanhaiya Kumar with respect to the tukde-tukde case in the past.

What’s the 2016 Case?
According to the charge sheet filed by the Delhi Police; on 9 February 2016 Kanhaiya, Khalid and Bhattacharya led a procession and raised anti-national slogans at an event on the university campus. On 12 February 2016, Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested and a case was registered against him on 13 February, under IPC 124-A for Sedition and 120-B Criminal Conspiracy.

The police said they have the video evidence where Kanhaiya is seen leading the students who were raising anti-national slogans like “Bharat Tere Tukde Honge InshaAllah InshaAllah“, and “Afzal Hum Sharminda Hai, Tere Qatil Zinda Hai” and which was identified by the witnesses in the videos. They were protesting in an event organized by students at the JNU campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. And after complaints from BJP MP Maheish Girri and the ABVP, Kanhaiya was charged, arrested and later released on bail.

Kanhaiya Kumar then had denied all the charges against him and said in an interview that “I dissociate myself from the slogans which were shouted in the event. I have full faith in the Constitution of the country and I always say that Kashmir is an integral part of India.”

Curiopedia

Kanhaiya Kumar is the former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union and presently, the National Executive Council member of Communist Party of India. He joined the AISF and a year later was selected as a delegate at its conference in Patna. After completing his post-graduation with an MA in sociology from Nalanda Open University in Patna; Kanhaiya Kumar moved to Delhi and after ranking first in the JNU entrance exam in 2011, joined JNU where he got his PhD. In 2015 September, Kanhaiya Kumar became the first AISF member to become president of the JNU students’ union. More Info

On 9 February 2016 some students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) held a protest on campus against the capital punishment meted out to the 2001 Indian Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Kashmiri separatist Maqbool Bhat. The organizers of the event were former members of the Democratic Students Union (DSU). The event was held despite the University administration withdrawing permission for the event shortly before it was due to begin, due to protests by members of the ABVP. The event saw clashes between various student groups and according to a video circulated by Zee News a small group of individuals shouted “anti-India” slogans. Thousands of students, faculty, and staff protested the arrest at JNU, and classes at the University were stopped for several days. More Info

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History of CAA

In the previous video of the series ‘Understanding CAA’, we understood what CAA is. If you missed that video, click here. Let us now have a look at the historical background of CAA.
Crux of the Matter

India has been a home to refugees for centuries. When Parsis faced religious persecution during 12th – 16th Century, refugees from the community came and settled in Gujarat. India went through a turbulent refugee crisis during partition. Nearly 10 million people were dislodged and they became refugees migrating through the overflowing borders. The migration was a picture in red and black – massacre and violence.

It seems that people of the Indian subcontinent are still paying for the two-nation theory that created India and Pakistan in 1947. Independent India created a citizenship law to tackle swarms of illegal migrants. The 1955 Citizenship Act laid out the mechanisms for acquiring Indian Citizenship which is governed by Articles 5 to 11 of the Indian Constitution.

In 1971, Bangladesh, which was then East Pakistan, was a victim of mass genocide called “Operation Searchlight” carried out by Pakistan in order to wipe out the Bengali Movement in the state. In the 9-month long pogrom, anywhere between 3 lac to 3 million civilians were massacred and more than 10 million refugees rushed to India’s West Bengal, Assam and other nearby states as well as to Myanmar. This triggered the 1971 war between India and Pakistan which led to the bifurcation of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh.

A decade later, the menace of Bangladeshi refugees started creeping up in the states of North East, especially Assam. In 1979 the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) started a movement to save the indigenous culture and drive out refugees, who comprised majorly of Bengalis.
It culminated in the signing of the Assam Accord in 1986 by the then Rajiv Gandhi government. Citizenship Laws became stricter with the 1986 amendment to the Citizenship Act. Individuals born in India could only be considered a citizen if either of their parents was an Indian citizen.

Vigilance on the India – Bangladesh border became stricter. In accordance to the Assam Accord, the amended Citizenship Act aimed at driving out illegal immigrants who had entered India after March 25, 1971.

The term that is creating controversy today “illegal migrants” was added to the Act in the 2003 Amendment by Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government. Its definition was added to the Act and the following major changes were made:

  • If either of the parents of a child born in India after 2003 were illegal migrants, the child was not to be considered an Indian Citizen.
  • Between 1987-2003, Indian citizenship could be granted to a child whose either parent held Indian Citizenship.
  • Whereas, prior to 1987, anyone born in India was considered Indian Citizen.
  • Illegal immigrants could not apply for Indian Citizenship through Registration.

Dr. Manmohan Singh, then in the Opposition, criticized the Bill and said in 2003 that “”India’s stance towards persecuted minorities be most liberal.” Other amendments in 2005 and 2015 to the Bill were linked to the Overseas Citizenship Clause in the Act.

2003 Amendment also mandated Government to conduct a nation-wide National Register of Citizens and issue a national identity card to each citizen. NRC was not much deliberated after 2003 until 2008’s 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. The Congress-led UPA Government decided to go with Aadhaar identification rather than NRC. Along with Census 2010, National Population Register was carried out. However, the UPA government did not take any steps to conduct NRC.

NRC in Assam is an entirely different issue. It has been mandated by the Supreme Court since 1986 to make sure Assam Accord gets honoured.

BJP-led NDA government’s Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, seems like a policy that is on the other side of the spectrum when compared with former NDA government’s 2003 amendments. Attributing circumstantial elements to the different stances, this amendment eases the citizenship requirements for immigrants from certain “religiously persecuted” communities. It will not consider “illegal” immigrants who have entered India before 31st December 2014 and who are from Hindu, Jain, Parsi, Sikh, Christian, Budhha religions as “illegal” and will grant them citizenship. Furthermore, naturalization period for these persecuted minorities has been reduced to 5 years instead of 11. The 11 year naturalisation period is still applicable to every other immigrant.

Looking at the timeline of amendments, it seems that changing circumstances as well as generational demographic shifts have coincided with changes in the citizenship requirements as mandated by the government of India.

Curiopedia

Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971, which the Pakistani state retrospectively justified on the basis of anti-Bihari violence by Bengalis in early March. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to “Operation Blitz” which had been launched in November 1970. The original plan envisioned taking control of all of East Pakistan’s major cities on 26 March, and then eliminating all Bengali opposition, political or military, within one month. Pakistani President Yahya Khan at a conference in February 1971 said “Kill three million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands.” Prolonged Bengali resistance was not anticipated by the Pakistani military leaders. The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major Bengali-held town in mid-May. The operation also precipitated the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, in which 300,000-3,000,000 civilians were killed and roughly 10 million refugees fled to India. Bengali intelligentsia, academics and Hindus were targeted for the harshest treatment, with significant indiscriminate killing taking place. These systematic killings enraged the Bengalis, who declared independence from Pakistan, to establish the new nation of Bangladesh. More Info

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CAA – What's The Deal?

Crux of the Matter

Citizenship Amendment Act came into effect from 10th January 2020. To say, it has been a hot topic for more than a month, would be an understatement. It has had a polarising effect on politics as well as the citizenry of India.

Citizenship Amendment Act, a part of the ruling party BJP’s electoral manifesto, was first introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2016. With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha, the bill did not see the light of day. It was re-introduced in the Winter Session of 2019, the year BJP came back to power at the centre with a thumping majority.

Passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the Act aims at giving citizenship to certain migrants belonging to persecuted minority communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Citizenship will be granted to migrants belonging to Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, and Christian religions. As per the 2019 amendment, now these migrants will not be treated as illegal migrants. Those who have entered India before 31 Dec 2014 will be given Indian citizenship. Refugees from these communities will, in general have their naturalisation period reduced to 5 years instead of the standard 11 years. The 11 year naturalisation period will still be applicable to other migrants.

CAA had also been announced during the Congress regime. It aimed at providing citizenship to religiously persecuted minorities. No religion was specified back then. CAA 2019 has sparked flames because of the apprehension of conducting NRC after CAA. The plan to implement a nationwide NRC has been emphasized multiple times by HM Amit Shah in the recent past.

CAA has been opposed by the states in the North East, specifically regions of Assam and other surrounding states not covered under the Inner Line Permit as they feel a threat to their linguistic, cultural and social identity. Despite ILP, Assam fears the already growing presence of Bangla speaking people, who hold various important positions in the social fabric. It is to be noted, that the amendment is not applicable to tribal areas of the North East and areas falling under ILP.

The primary opposition to CAA in the rest of India is based on the speculative fear that it will be a safety net to ensure the citizenship of non-Muslims, after which NRC will be implemented to discriminate against Indian Muslims. This fear has been stoked by certain parties in the opposition who claim that the government is taking away rights from Muslim citizens in the country. They see CAA as a threat to the fundamentals of the Indian constitution.

The opposition argues that the amendment violates the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution because it provides differential treatment to illegal migrants on the basis of their religion. Article 14 permits laws to differentiate between groups of people only if the rationale for doing so serves a reasonable purpose. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill does not explicitly explain the rationale behind differentiating between illegal migrants on the basis of the religion.

The government has tried to address these fears by repeatedly stating that CAA is not applicable to Indian citizens. Prime Minister Modi has also come out and said, “The Bill has no provision to snatch citizenship from anyone but to grant citizenship only to the refugees. There is no need for Indian Muslims to live in fear.”

Curiopedia

Citizenship in India – The conferment of a person, as a citizen of India, is governed by Articles 5 to 11 (Part II) of the Constitution of India. The legislation related to this matter is the Citizenship Act 1955, which has been amended by the Citizenship (Amendment) Acts of 1986, 1992, 2003, 2005, and 2015. Article 9 of Indian Constitution says that a person who voluntarily acquires citizenship of any other country is no longer an Indian citizen. Also, according to The Passports Act, a person has to surrender his/her Indian passport and voter card and other Indian ID cards must not be used after another country’s citizenship is obtained. It is a punishable offence if the person fails to surrender the passport. Indian nationality law largely follows the jus sanguinis (citizenship by right of blood) as opposed to the jus soli (citizenship by right of birth within the territory). The 2019 Citizenship Amendment Bill amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to make religiously persecuted minorities, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before 31 December 2014, eligible for Indian citizenship. It also seeks to relax the requirement of residence in India for citizenship by naturalisation from 11 years to 5 years for these migrants. More Info

'Dildaar Dilli' gears up for Elections 2020

elections

Delhi Assembly elections will be held in single phase on February 8 while results will be announced on February 11. The Election Commission of India has said in it’s public statement that the entire election process will be over by February 13. The poll scrutineer has also published the final electoral list, according to which 1.46 crore voters are eligible to cast their franchise in the Delhi elections.

Crux of the Matter
  • The model code of conduct has come into force with immediate effect, after which counting of votes will be done.
  • The term of the 70-member Delhi Assembly would be ending on February 22 and a new house has to be constituted before that.
  • New concept of absentee voters enables those voters to take part in polls who are not able to come to polling stations due to physical circumstances or unavoidable reasons.
  • Pick and drop facility will be provided to Disabled persons and senior citizens above 80 years. They can either vote in person or vote through postal ballot.
  • The ruling AAP government in Delhi is eyeing for a second consecutive term while BJP, which has not been in power in Delhi for 20 years, is vouching for an election win as well.
Curiopedia

Elections in Delhi, the National Capital Territory of India are conducted in accordance with the Constitution of India. The Assembly of Delhi creates laws regarding the conduct of local body elections unilaterally while any changes by the state legislature to the conduct of state-level elections need to be approved by the Parliament of India. In addition, the state legislature may be dismissed by the Parliament according to Article 356 of the Indian Constitution and President’s rule may be imposed. The main political parties are Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Indian National Congress (INC)Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are the major political parties in Delhi. In the past, various parties such as Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) and Janata Party (JP) were also influential in the territory. More Info

JMM-Congress-RJD Alliance Sweep Jharkhand Assembly Polls

The results for the Jharkhand Assembly election results which were conducted in five phases were declared on December 23 and the pre-poll alliance of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress-RJD secured a landslide victory winning 47 seats in the 81 member Assembly. While the BJP managed to win only 25 seats.

Crux of the Matter
  • The final tally is Jharkhand Mukti Morcha – 30, INC – 16, BJP – 25, AJSU – 2, RJD – 1, JVM(P) – 3, Others – 4
  • CM Raghubar Das could not retain Jamshedpur East seat. He lost by a margin of 15,833 votes to Independent candidate BJP rebel Saryu Roy.
  • Raghubar Das tendered his resignation as Jharkhand CM to the Governor Droupadi Murmu and said, “People’s mandate has not been in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party but whatever has been the verdict of the people, we respect it.”
  • Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader and the CM elect Hemant Soren won from both the seats he contested. He won the Barhait constituency by a margin of 25,740 votes and the Dumka seat by a margin of 13,188 votes.
  • He secured 73,534 and 80,589 votes by defeating BJP’s Lois Marandi and Simon Malto in Barhait and Dumka respectively.
  • Hemant Soren said, “I am thankful to the people of Jharkhand for the mandate.”
  • Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted saying, “BJP respects the mandate of Jharkhand’s voters and it is committed to the development of the state.”
Curiopedia

Hemant Soren born on 10 August 1975 is an Indian politician in Jharkhand, a state in eastern India. Soren was born in Nemara in Ramgarh district, Jharkhand. He has two brothers and a sister. His educational qualification is Intermediate from Patna High School, Patna. He studied Mechanical Engineering in BIT Mesra, Ranchi but failed to complete the course. He has served as the 5th Chief Minister of Jharkhand. He was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand on 15 July 2013. He was a member of Rajya Sabha from 24 June 2009 to 4 January 2010. More Info