Rajat Sharma

Mamata’s demand for UN-monitored referendum on CAA is preposterous

akb1709I respect West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as a political fighter. Presently, she articulates the voice of the opposition. As a strong opponent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she has every right to put forth her views courageously.

On Thursday, while addressing a rally in Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee demanded a United Nations-monitored referendum on the CAA and NRC issues. The Trinamool Congress chief should know that the entire world respects India’s democratic institutions. For the chief minister of a state to demand a UN-monitored referendum on a bill passed by both Houses of Parliament, is, to say the least, preposterous and unfortunate.

As far as Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens are concerned, there are questions in the minds of common people, which require answers. People are asking whether only Muslims will be asked to submit documents to prove their citizenship and other communities will be exempted. The answer is: the NRC draft is not yet ready and if, at all, it is implemented, it shall apply to everybody irrespective of language, caste or communities.

Questions are being asked whether people will be asked to submit documents prior to 1971. I posed this question to the government at senior levels, and the reply was, no. The pre-1971 documents were sought only in the case of Assam, because the cut-off date of 1971 was set in the Assam Accord. For the rest of the country, the voter identity card or similar document will be sufficient. No document relating to parents or grandparents will be asked for.

So, there is nothing to worry. Your voter I-Card, passport, driving license, ration card, High School certificate or any other similar document will be sufficient to prove your citizenship.

I will now point out to some of the unfortunate incidents that are taking place in the name of anti-CAA protests.

In Ahmedabad on Thursday, a mob attacked some policemen, and when a policeman fell while boarding a police bus, he was beaten up badly by an unruly mob. Can anybody justify such action in the name of protest? If police takes action in the form of lathicharge or firing or by using force, will their action not be justified? Will those activists who are supporting anti-CAA protests defend such mob attacks on a policeman? Or will the policeman, who became the target of the mob, be held responsible, and the action by the mob will be justified? I must add that 7 Muslims came forward and saved the cops from stone pelters. They had to try hard as no one was ready to listen to a sane voice.

These are searching questions that need to be answered. The answers are vital to the very existence of our democracy.

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