oppn parties The Modi Government: Right In Being Firm On CAA, Wrong In Stifling Protests By Force

News Snippets

  • SC says it will revisit its definition of 'Hindutva' in the light of growing hate speeches
  • Indigo reduces the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra to three months after an inquiry committee finds that it was a Level 1 offense not meriting a 6-month ban
  • Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral says Delhi Police did not act on his phone call asking them to help 16 people trapped in riot-hit areas
  • AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, booked for murder and arson, says he is being framed
  • New HC bench allows the Delhi Police plea that the situation is no conducive to the filing of FIRs and also allows the Centre to become a party to the case
  • Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court, who was part of the bench that pulled up the Delhi Police for not filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches, transferred to Punjab HC
  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
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The Modi Government: Right In Being Firm On CAA, Wrong In Stifling Protests By Force

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2019-12-20 12:58:06

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The Modi government is both right and wrong on the CAA. It is right in asserting that there will be no rollback of CAA. The government has been voted to power on the basis of its manifesto which included the fact that it will amend the Citizenship Act as it has done. It is right in saying that it has the power to enact legislation if the same is passed in parliament. Those who claim that the CAA is unconstitutional are only expressing their opinion as they neither have the ability nor the authority to declare this. Only the Supreme Court has that power and it has already admitted several petitions on the matter and issued a notice to the Centre in this regard.

But the government is wrong in using force to prevent peaceful protests against the CAA. It was wrong in sending the police inside Jamia Millia to break up peaceful protests by the students. It is wrong in invoking section 144 to disallow people from assembling to protest. It is wrong in detaining people like Ramchandra Guha for expressing his opinion against the CAA in a rally. It is wrong in giving the impression that only Muslims are protesting against the Act. It is wrong in suspending the internet in several places.

The government has to recognize that in a democracy, there will always be a substantial number of people who will not accept its policies or agree to the laws it chooses to enact. If everyone would have been on the same page with the government, it would have won with a 100 percent vote in its favour. This government has won with a little over 40 percent of the popular vote and is in power only because India follows a first-past-the-post electoral system. Hence, it should be prepared for dissent. It should allow people to protest peacefully if they do not like any of its policies or laws. It should desist from using force or colonial-era laws to stifle these protests.

At the same time, if the government thinks it is right in enacting the law, it should remain firm and put the law into practice. The proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act were in the public domain for long. In fact, the last bill introduced to amend the same had lapsed due to the termination of the term of the last Lok Sabha. In the present parliament, the opposition failed to unite in the Rajya Sabha despite its strong objection to the bill. Hence, it now has no excuse.

Instead of raising the mercury level in the country, it would be advisable for all to wait for the Supreme Court to decide the matter. If all laws to be enacted in India were subjected to a UN-monitored plebiscite, as suggested by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (she has said that if the BJP "has the guts" it should agree to a UN-monitored referendum), no laws would get made. Further, the UN has no right to interfere in the matter. Only the Indian parliament can enact laws and the Supreme Court can rule whether they pass the Constitutional test.