In December 2019, the Indian government enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The CAA fast-tracks nationality for non-Muslim minorities from neighboring countries. In effect undocumented people from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh who escaped persecution and arrived in India before 2014 can be fast-tracked to citizenship – but it only applies to those who are Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhists, Parsi or Christian, NOT Muslim.
Changes in citizenship policy are being framed by the government as a way to target “illegal migrants” or “infiltrators”. But a common explanation for the changes is that they have been driven by Hindu nationalism of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – the organization that molded Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, as well as Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. This ideology promotes the idea of a Hindu Rashtra, which aims to formally entrench Hinduism in Indian politics while continuing an anti-Muslim agenda. Muslims, India’s largest minority, have been targeted by Modi’s BJP government.
The Indian constitution is a secular one that enshrines equality for all its people, irrespective of religion. The CAA violates the right to equality enshrined in India’s constitution. Many international legal experts, including the United Nations special rapporteur on minorities, say India’s new citizenship law is discriminatory and there is the danger that millions of minority groups such as Muslims will be denied citizenship.
Accompanying this is the adoption of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), an attempt to draw up a register of Indian citizens. Nearly two million people have been excluded from a citizenship list in the state of Assam where the NRC exercise was concluded last year. The BJP turned the registry into a predominantly anti-Muslim exercise and ultimately, the majority of the 2 million residents of Assam who were stripped of citizenship were Muslim. There are now 6 detention centers holding mostly Bengali people.
There are remarkable similarities in the way citizenship laws are being used to leave swathes of people stateless and without citizenship rights – stripped of the right to vote, the right to own property, and the right to any kind of social security. The combination of the CAA and NPR is paving the path to disenfranchising the Muslim minority community in India. Experts warn that the CAA, coupled with the proposed NRC, violates international law, specifically the prohibition on rendering people stateless.
RSS, The Killers of Gandhi Run India Today
The convicted killer of Mahatma Gandhi was a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, as it is known in India. RSS based its ideology on the ideas of racial purity preached by German Nazis and fascists in the 1930s and 40s. During World War II, the RSS openly supported Adolf Hitler. Its agenda was, and remains the same: To turn India into a Hindu nation, marked by the cultural and political hegemony of upper caste Hindus i.e. Indo-Aryans. RSS is a bit like SS of Nazi Germany, only more powerful, semi-secret, and extremely dangerous with trained 600,000 paramilitary members, and some 57,000 branches across the country. They run schools where millions of students study.
The RSS has been banned four times in India, but is now the de facto power that runs India. The RSS is the parent of all the organizations known as the “Sangh Parivar.” Members of these organizations have been implicated in mass killings, forced conversions5, inciting riots, and in bombing churches and mosques.
The RSS is the parent organization of the BJP, the party which currently rules India. Today, the Indian President and the Prime Minister, both are card-carrying members of the fascist RSS. The current chief of RSS, Mohan Madhukar Bhagwat served as the commander of RSS militia training for years before becoming its “Supreme Leader.” The government of India now provides the RSS chief with round-the-clock security cover.4 It is the same level of security provided to the Indian Prime Minister and the President.
Call Congress to Stop fascism in India using our free calling tool below or schedule a meeting with your elected officials
We need you to meet with your local congress representatives.
- Don’t know who he/she is? Visit: https://www.house.gov/
- Call the district office to make an appointment. You can ask for a meeting at their district office or D.C. office.
- Work with organizations in the area advocating for minority rights in India. [Suggestions: Indian American Muslim Council, Ambedkar Society, local Sikh organizations/ communities, and others. Include allies from other communities as well.]
- Once scheduled, understand what your ‘asks’ are, prepare the talk/ presentation you will be giving, and make sure to introduce each member of your team. Take the contact info of staffers you spoke with and make sure to ask when a good time to follow up would be!
- Download, customize and print the files (L1), (L2), (L3) below. Together, these three make the recommended advocacy pack. Sign, place in a folder and take with you.
- Google Drive Link: Click here
Call your elected officials and urge them to act on India. RSS must be stopped.
Here’s what you should say:
“I am a constituent. Please ask the Congressperson to demand that the State Department investigate RSS in India as an extremist organization and stop all their funding from the United States.
I appreciate the work that you have put into furthering Human Rights issues in different parts of the world and in the United States.”