Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: Never make a trap for yourself

Alpesh Patel Wednesday 18th December 2019 06:43 EST

Citizenship Amendment Act. Gotta talk about that. When legislation leads to rioting, and makes the front page of foreign papers, you of course, even if you are a chest beating nationalist, ask yourself, was the implementation correct? 

You will have no greater defence of Islam anywhere in the world than from India. Want proof? Watch the news, watch the riots, look at history – a country that ripped itself into three. A secular nation with a free press is the only credible defender. It isn’t Imran Khan from a theocracy – how could it be? No credibility. As he shrilled at the UN embarrassingly about using nuclear weapons in the protection of his faith, he played to the world image of a terrorist sponsoring State. It’s not gone unnoticed in Governments. 

Who are the protectors? It’s the people on the streets, the papers, the media, the students.

So who defends the minorities being oppressed in neighbouring theocracies? Of course a law could be established to say protection well above UN mandated asylum protections will be provided. But surely, given the sometimes irrational dislike for PM Modi, it could be seen there will be a wilful blatant misunderstanding of the law to cause violence and riots?

So what should have been done? Nothing? Wait? Maybe wait. But certainly not nothing. Actually, what should have been done is to include oppressed Muslims from those three countries. 

It is no defence to say, ‘how can there be oppressed Muslims, in an Islamic Republic’? But the problem the Government faces (ignore the irrational hatred of all Muslims some may have) is numbers. The Indian economy is 10 times the size of Pakistan. Of course there would be migrants under the guise of oppression seeking economic migration – don’t believe me? What’s Europe complaining about so often when called ‘racist’ and it tries to explain otherwise. 

So is the answer then to do nothing, to let other minorities suffer? Of course not. The old cliché, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right applies’. Why not open it up to Chinese oppressed Muslims? Again, numbers.  

My point is ‘it looks wrong’. You may have had good intentions (and some in Government will not even have had those) but there is a ‘sniff test’ at least where something doesn’t smell right you should think how better to implement it.

I am well aware of the hardline right wing and what they want. I suspect the middle ground prefer a moderate measured approach in such matters which does not result in riots and curfews and threats to life and property. Whilst the violent protesting minority do not get to call the shots, the silent middle are probably less convinced of the legislation that they otherwise may have been. 

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