Art of turning benevolence into malevolence

Anurag Thakur

A very secret message was broadcast from Delhi to Islamabad in early 1950. The message was sombre, yet anguished in tone. The message read, ”I feel that it is urgently necessary that both Governments, India and Pakistan, should make some declaration in regard to the Bengal situation – violent attacks on Hindus. Whatever our future policy may be, the present policy must be clearly enunciated. My suggestions were that both governments should announce publicly that they will compensate the sufferers among the minorities and take the responsibility of rehabilitating fully in their former places all those who have been rendered homeless or who have recently migrated.”

The sender was skeptical of the sincerity of the other side. So, he even proposed some penal measures, saying, ”Further that they (the governments) will make every effort to punish the guilty and for the recovery and return of looted property. A warning should be issued that those who possess such looted property should return it within a few days, otherwise, they will be liable to punishment.”

This message was from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s first Prime Minister. While Nehru and his successors, all the way up to our current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have honoured the commitment to protect the minorities and ensure their prosperity, Pakistan definitely has broken the promise.

Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians in Pakistan have faced enormous violence, forced conversion, rape and loot in the hands of the radical elements. The infamous case of blasphemy by Aasiya Bibi, a Christian, is well known. The Pakistani government, by design or default, has neglected the pleas of these communities to protect their rights.

Tens of thousands of people from these communities have been living in India since Independence. India is the only place they call home now. Where else could they go? And yet, this country and its governments, until now, were doing injustice to these refugees by not giving them citizenship. This despite the Gandhi sultanate promising to accept these people as citizens of the country.

Today, when the Narendra Modi government is providing citizenship to these people, the ‘anarchy brigade’ is back to business. For years, this brigade accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of human rights violation, here and there, without any proof. And yet, under the garb of human rights, they systematically rigged the government systems. This brigade never shied away from using Mahatma Gandhi’s name. And yet, they never accepted his preaching to allow the minorities from Pakistan to India, if the minorities wanted to for any reason, because they were afraid of frittering away the vote bank.

However, we are duty-bound to the Constitution and Bapu’s words. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act will be written in golden words in the pages of history. This Act reinforces India’s position in South Asia and the world as a mature and responsible democracy.

However, this period will also be noted for how the anarchy brigade manufactured fake news and tried putting the country on fire. First, they tried spreading lies about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, that it will take away the citizenship of Indian Muslims. Such a blatant lie from the house of the Congress party is an insult to Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru.

However, when the smart citizens of this country neglected it, they immediately connected it to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), manufacturing mischief. There has not been a single government meeting on All India NRC. Even the Assam NRC that is being talked about was decided by the Rajiv Gandhi government and implemented under the Supreme Court’s supervision. That such arson and violence should happen in a year marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, both apostles of peace, is reflective of the state of affairs in the Congress and its allies.

Even as India is gearing up to become a $5-trillion economy, the anarchy brigade is hell-bent on jamming the wheels of progress and dip us into anarchy. But the common Indian citizen is very intelligent. Especially after the Prime Minister’s speech at Ramlila Maidan on 22 December, India is assured and will gear up to reach for the sky. No amount of fake news, violent protests and arson can divert the Prime Minister and his team from taking India to greater heights of progress. Such incidents only strengthen our resolve to work harder towards forging a New India.

(Anurag Thakur is Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs)

Karthikeyan Halan