India: Republic day or Black day?

Indian indigenous Constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950. It took the Legislation Assembly 166 days, spread over a period of two years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution. After many deliberations and some modifications, the 308 members of the Legislation Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. It was drafted well based on wide consultation and comprehensive deliberations. The Day of its implementation 26 January is celebrated as Republic Day in India every year regularly.

The major high light of this constitution was “Democratic” and “Secular” state. Is India a democratic and secular state today? Especially under the Modi government, is India a Democratic and Secular State?

Modi belongs to RSS, an extremist Hindu political Party, which was established in the 1920s with Hitler’s Nazi ideology. RSS believes, India is a place for Hindus only, all others either to convert to Hinduism or leave India. They are extremists and having no tolerance for non-Hindus.

Since their establishment, they were promoting their ideology and wanted to implement, but they were always opposed and could not implement their ideology. Since the Independence from the British Empire in 1947, RSS reorganized and promoted their ideology in education, media, and judiciary and government sector.

Especially for the last couple of decades, all extremist political parties gathered under the umbrella of BJP. Modi was the first-ever extremist Prime Minister during 2014-2019, but lacking absolute majority required for legislation. Modi during his first tenure has politicized state institutions including Army, Judiciary, Police, Education, Media, and even Election Commission. As a result in Election April 2019, extremists hijacked the parliament and exercised their absolute majority to change legislation.

On the 5th of August 2019, the Modi government revoked Indian constriction and provoked the special autonomous status of Kashmir and imposed curfew by deploying 900,000 troops in the Kashmir. It was a big blow to the Indian constitution since 1950, which provided special status and full autonomy to the Kashmir. At the same time, it was an open violation of UNSC resolution, which was passed in 1948, giving the right of self-determination to people of Kashmir by a plebiscite. Kashmir is a disputed territory among China, Pakistan and India, and internationally recognized dispute. Indian unilateral action is a clear violation of international norms. Modi has offended not only China and Pakistan but also all peace-loving nations and individuals globally.

On 11 December 2019, the Indian legislation Assembly has passed “The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. It amended the Citizenship Act of 1955 by providing a path to Indian citizenship for members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities, who had fled persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan before December 2014. Muslims were not given such eligibility. The act was the first instance of religion being overtly used as a criterion for citizenship under Indian nationality law. It is a clear violation of the Indian Constitution of 1950, which ensures no discrimination among citizens based on religion, race, and ethnicity. Modi Government has again violated the Indian constitution and proved that India is no longer a “Secular State”.

When the Minority (mostly Muslims), came to streets to record their concerns and lodged a protest. Modi opted for use of force to suppress them, instead of addressing their genuine concerns through dialogue. It is common practice in all democratic countries that people have the right to differ, express their concerns, protest, and agitate, etc. This right is protected under the Indian constitution of 1950. But Modi, this democratic right of Indian Citizen has denied. Suspension of mobile phone services, and Internet services and extensive use of force is an open violation of the constitution.

The whole world is worry and keeping a close eye on events and incidents happening in India and raising several questions like Is India a Democratic Country? Why democratic practices are not observed? Is India a secular country? How can they discriminate based on religion?

UN, International NGOs, International Community, and the whole world is well aware of the situation in India and I conclude “India is no longer a democratic country and no longer a secular state”.

Minorities in India, opposition political parties and Oversea Indians living around the world are marking this day as “Black Day”. Huge protests, agitations, and Marches were witnessed around the world, especially in the countries where the Indian population is in concentration like: UK, USA, Canada, EU, etc. The government may celebrate it as Republic Day, but the public has observed it as “Black Day”.

Author:  Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.