The ongoing and widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in India, has rightly inspired the hopes of decent and freedom loving peoples in India. In this context, the ruling Modi regime’s spin machine has sprung into action, to try and “contain” the fallout and seek control of the narrative around the CAA. We as individuals should certainly listen to both sides. One of the videos tweeted by Prime Minister Modi himself is that of a Sadguru (self-claimed holy Godman) describing the legislation in a positive light while dismissing the protesters and imputing malintent to them by the same measure. The video by the Sadguru can be seen here:

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/modis-pro-caa-twitter-campaign-pm-posts-sadhgurus-video-message/videoshow/73026782.cms

The Sadguru’s description of the events is filled with many falsehoods which I happened to dissect during a recent discussion on social media. Given that this video has become part of the propaganda arsenal of the administration, it makes sense to publish my takedown in some greater detail so ordinary people can understand with clarity the crimes and the coverup by Modi and his supporters. I also hope that activists and others concerned about CAA and reaching out to people of India to resist the legislations, will freely use this response in discussion assuming of course, they find the points raised here to be worthwhile.

Firstly, we should ask ourselves, does this individual, Sadguru, have any particular experience or knowledge about this matter, that we should listen to him over others like for example the UN Secretary Gneral and the UN Human Rights Commission ? Both the UN chief and the UNHRC chairwoman has described the CAA as “fundamentally discriminatory”. This is also reflected in people protesting the law like Harsh Mander (retired IAS officer and civil rights activist), Ramchandra Guha (historian and biographer of Mahatma Gandhi), Tushar Gandhi (Mahatma’s grandson) and Kannan Gopinathan (former IAS officer who resigned in protest against the aweful communications blockade of the people of Kashmir) and numerous other civilians of national and international prominence).

That should certainly concern us as these are people who deal with issues relating to human rights and refugees all the time, unlike the Sadguru, whose has no experience on these matters.

That said, since you have taken the time to post this video, I decided to view it. And let’s take the points being raised by the Sadguru:

1) He says of the protesters “Did I miss something about the law?.. are they so hard-hearted ?”
He is thus accusing the protests of being indifferent to the plight of Hindu refugees. This is patently false. The protesters across have been making a few demands that along with roll back of NRC/CAA, to bring in a proper refugee law that helps people of all backgounds and religions.

Yes, it is true that Hindus in Pakistan are persecuted, but so are Ahmadiyas and Baluchis in Pakistan. Why are their lives any lesser ?

Last year, Rohingya muslim refugees were fleeing extreme and untold violence by the hundreds of thousands from Burma. Many came to India. But they were deported by the Modi regime, with shameful help from the RSS-controlled Indian Council for HistoricalResearch, who called them infiltrators. Did the Sadguru even protest it ? I’m sure you noticed it too, by the way. Did you even get concerned that an Indian civilization as old as ours is turning away refugees because they are Muslims?

Why should a law discriminate refugees based on their religion? This is precisely what the CAA does.

2) He repeats that he is completely lost about the protests “Did I miss something?” Yes, he does miss something very important the protesters have been saying all along. The CAA has to be seen along with the NRC. That’s what makes it so dangerous. The NRC will exclude hundreds of millions of poor. The CAA will then be used to separate out the Muslims and deny them citizenship. Clearly, the Sadguru has not been listening to the people protesting.

3) Claims CAA is based on “religious persecution”. He is wrong. It does not protect religious persecution suffered by Ahmadiyas in Pakistan, by the Rohingya Muslims in Burma, by the Christians in Bhutan. This bill breaks the back of India’s Constitution by only focusing on refugees of one religion.

4) He is accusing the protesters of changing the story to be about “police violence”.
Again, he is wrong. The protesters are not changing the story. The protesters are still opposed to the CAA/NRC/NPR. What has happened is that police responded nationwide with a crackdown on peaceful protesters, with thousands arrested. It reminds one of the British raj, not a free nation. Furthermore, in Uttar Pradesh, currently a fact-finding team including former IAS officer Harsh Mander has found that the police are rampaging into Muslim homes and trashing all the belongings and destroying the life savings of the people. Even announcing that “with the CAA, you all will be sent to Pakistan”.

I highly urge you to read the report here:
https://www.thehindu.com/…/a-dan…/article30427527.ece…

5) He claims the police entering the University is because of “students throwing stones”. Notice, the Sadguru doesn’t give names to universityies, doesn’t specify a date. Doesn’t specify an actual event. But keeps talking about his targets in general fashion “they said..”, “they are saying”.

But the claims are simply do not add up to the facts. The police action was disproportionate and in the case of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) entered the University Library and thrashed the students, and first destroyed the CCTV cameras at AMU before entering [1]. Why did the police destroy the CCTV cameras? Is it because they knew that they were engaging in criminal violence and were making sure evidence is destroyed? Furthermore, they refused to take the injured students to a hospital instead keeping them in police custody.

Why? Were they afraid that their attack on innocent students will be seen by the world.

6) Its noteworthy that Sadguru imputes malintent on “some sections” who are “spreading” misinformation to make the “muslims” feel like they are going to lose their citizenship. Again, like all his allegations, there are no records of times, of who “they” actually are, or when and where and how were they “spreading” the allegations.Our Prime Minister Modi lies publicly that there are “no detention centers” for foreigners, despite the fact that tens of crores of rupees are being spent to construct a detention center in the state of Assam and another in Bengaluru, in Karnataka state. [2] But Sadguru is somehow studiously silent about the lies “spread” by our Prime Minister, despite the time, location and method of the “spread” being well-known.

I’m sure you will hence know that the protesters are standing up to a dark fascism that is being spread over India by the BJP/RSS regime. The Sadguru’s musings also betray an understanding of not just the immediate past actions of the Modi regime (eliminating Article 370, Kashmir lockdown) and the statements of its leaders (Amit Shahs reference to Muslim peoples as “termites”) , but also the history of the RSS and its role in the assassination of Gandhi, to the genocide in Gujarat in 2002 against the Muslim population [3].

The Sadguru doesn’t care about the victims of state violence in India as he amply makes clear. He is insensitive and intentionally oblivious to the graphic violence meted out to the students of AMU, Jamia and to the dozens of families in UP being mercilessly terrorized by the UP police.

You have a choice whether you want to listen to him, or actually care about facts and act in solidarity with the victims and in defense of the Constitution of India and all that is good and sane in this world.

References:

  1. Interview with Harsh Mander (Retired IAS officer and civil rights activist): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ig0MZX9RDrI
    For the part about his eye-witness account of the assault on AMU students, please forward to minutes 8:30 (approx.) in the video.

  2. Mainstream media news report, plainly exposing Modi’s lies in Delhi about lack of detention centers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b23OWrpgCVM

  3. HRW report on the 2002 Gujarat state sponsored violence against Muslims aptly titled “We do not have any orders to save you”: https://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/india/

Karthik Ramanathan works in hi-tech for a living, based out of California. He has been writing about and been involved with various human rights issues and movements from anti-war activism, to solidarity with Latin American peoples, and against religious Communalism in India.


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