An appeal, reproduced below, received from Comrade N. Vasudevan
People across India have been protesting against the government since 5 August 2019. The protests initially, against the lockdown in Kashmir after the abrogation of article 370, were localised, but from December 2019 protests have become widespread and vociferous against the amendment to the Citizenship Act and the notification of NPR and NRC as well as police brutality against the brave students of JMU, AMU and then JNU, who were protesting against a very huge fee hike in their university.
The latest reason for the protests by people from almost all over the country is the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that was passed in the Parliament in December 2019.
The Government has been stating loudly that nobody shoul be worried about the CAA as well as the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
We need to understand what these three things are and how they will affect us.
As we know citizenship means the right to have and demand rights. If I am a citizen, I have not only the right to vote, but also the right to demand employment, decent working conditions, minimum and living wages, housing, rations, education, health care, and many more. I have a right to form an union and struggle for all this. I can raise my voice against the government, the malliks and against all kinds of injustices. If I am not a citizen, I do not have a right to do all these things.
That all citizens are equally entitled to all rights is written in the Indian Constitution which was made after Undia got freedom from the British more than 73 years ago. The Constitution is meant to be the basis of all laws made in the country, but the CCA, NPR and NRC are against the rights given to citizens in the Constitution. In this regard the CAA has discriminated most against our Muslim brethren, though to do that is not permissible under the Constitution. But the people of India are all one. We must never allow them to divide us and break our unity whici is our weapon for fighting injustice.
We all are citizens of this country. We know it.
But this new Act and the accompanying processes the NPR and NRC are saying – no, you will have to prove your citizenship by furnishing the government with papers that prove your citizenship. The government has not yet made clear what these papers and proofs are. But they are likely to be proof of your having a birth certificate, owning land and property, the dates and places of birth of your parents and may be grand-parents to ensure they were born in India and may be many more of such things.
The poorer we are, the chances of us being able to produce all required documents in leaner. This will particularly affect the poor people living in villages, towns and cities, dalits, adivasis, nomadic and denotified communities, forest dwellers, landless agricultural workers, migrant workers, urban slum dwellers, homeless people, women, trans people, disabled pe ople, orphans and all communities that are the most marginalised and underprivileged. But it is also true that even many rich and educated people do not have their proofs of date and place of birth of themselves and their parents, as these documents like birth certificates were not even issued by the government till some fifty years ago. And even today 50 percent of births are not registered.
This would mean we will have to stand in queues and spend working days and large amounts of money even as bribes to produce these documents to prove our citizenship. This will lead to not only loss in wages but also will expose us to corruption in creating these documents, incurring a double loss. This is much worse than the process of demonetisation in which we have to queue up to first deposit all our money in banks and then withdraw it. This is even more dangerous. In demonetisation we lost money, wages and job. In this we may lose our citizenship and end up in detention centres (which are like jails built for the purpose of keeping people who can’t prove their citizenship) where we can be forced to labour like slaves without any rights, separated from our families and loved ones, possibly for the rest of our lives.
We need to discuss this CAA-NRC-NPR in greater detail among ourselves and see how we can oppose it when the government people come to ask us for this information.
The Central Governement is doing all this at such a time when the country’s economic conditions are very bad, unemployment rate has increased manifold, prices are rising every day, farmers are endlessly commiting suicide and even the existing permanent jobs are being lost due to privatisation of public sector companies where all the land and property of the government owned companies are bring handed over to foreing and Indian private malliks for a song and the permanent workers in these companies are being replaced by contract labour who don’t even get minimum wages ensured. The government is simultaneously changing all the labour laws that are in favour of the working class. These are laws which our previous generations had earned for us by their sacrifices.
So come comrades!
Come out with your families, to fight the Central Government which is out to destroy our lives like never before.
Our Immediate Tasks:
To educate ourselves and our families and communities about what this CAA-NRC-NPR is.
Build an NPR awareness campaign in areas where we live, in our bastis, our housing colonies, our cities, towns and villages.
Hold meetings and rallies in all possible areas to spread the message about the immense dangers of CAA, NPR, NRIC, NRC, and DETENTION CAMPS.
Pressurise the state government to oppose the NRC/NPR and to refuse to allow the Central government to deploy infrastructure and ressources of the state for the NRC and NPR.
Render support to all campaigns against the labour codes and privatisation of public sector companies and anti-labour practices of the maaliks and governments.
Workers Against CAA, NPR & NRC
c/o TUSC, 6, Neel Kanth Apartments, Gokuldas Pasta Lane, Off. Dadasaheb Phalke Road, Dadar (East), Mumbai – 400 014
Phone : 022-2415 0750