ON THE WEB, 20 January 2020
More than 8,000 people from the Christian community took to the streets in eastern India Monday to protest against a citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims.
Hindu-majority India has been gripped by widespread street demonstrations that have sometimes turned deadly, with the march in West Bengal state’s capital Kolkata believed to be one of the biggest rallies by Christians.
Carrying banners calling for the citizenship law and proposed nationwide “register of citizens” to be ditched, the demonstrators marched for several kilometres (miles) from a church to a life-sized statue of Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.
One of the protest organisers, Herod Mullick from the Bangiya Christiya Pariseba, said the new legislation was “divisive”.
“We want to express our solidarity with the people who are protesting against CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and NRC (National Register of Citizens) in different parts of India.”
Police estimated that more than 8,000 people took part in the march.
The new law makes it easier for persecuted religious minorities from three neighbouring countries to obtain citizenship, but not if they are Muslim.
Combined with a mooted national register of citizens, it has stoked fears that India’s 200 million Muslims will be marginalised.
India was a land of tolerance because its the birthplace of two of the greatest votaries of non-violence. Its the sacred land of Buddha and Gandhi. Its a spiritual paradise of the world. However, in this degenerate times, the message of those great men are replaced by hatred spear-headed by religious zealots. Recent Indian leaders have looked to neighboring Pakistan to make India a Hindu Theocracy just as Pakistan is striving to make itself an Islamic theocracy. If India goes the Pakistan way, it will severely impede its progress and will gradually become as chaotic and volatile as Pakistan. Today, Pakistan is gripped by terrorism and religious fanaticism. India is slowly but steadily getting more and more fanatical with the cry of Ram Mandir rather than dal roti for millions of poor Indians who live below the poverty line. Can anyone tell me the difference between the likes of Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal Hindu fanatics and the Muslim Taliban fanatics? I don’t see any. Both of them preach hate against the “other”. Indians are people whose respect and altruism is so deeply rooted that it not only worships the cow but it also reveres the elephant. In some places the snake is worshipped such as nag puja. It has Immense respect for all creatures. This is the true Indian treasure that is the envy of the world. Instead, India is heading towards Hindu religious jingoism that is threatening the very foundation of India’s proud tradition of religious tolerance and harmony for hundreds of years. If India wants to be a progressive forward looking nation, it must mantain the secular ethos as is enshrined in the constitution by the nations wise forefathers. It should have no official religion but at the same time respect all faiths. If this is discarded, its opening the pandora’s box.