CAA and related changes

Tuesday 04th February 2020 14:58 EST

The introduction of the CAA and related changes in India have sparked significant emotions on all sides of the political spectrum in India and outside. Every country has a sovereign right to protect its borders and to choose who it lets in, keeps in, and asks to leave.

I understand there are a lot of people for it, and a lot against too. I understand that emotions have not allowed the constitutional, policy and human rights elements of arguments on both sides to argued separately and rationally.

But people have died. Activists have been detained. Some politicians have been openly inciting violence. I’ve received dozens of WhatsApp forwards in the last few weeks that are, let me be absolutely clear, racist. They are not consistent with my British values.

For a government that prides itself on its messaging, led by India’s tallest leader for decades, its response to the protests seems like an unmitigated disaster. I fully appreciate that the strategy behind its response is a wish to project strength, but it is getting in the way of policymaking and governance. The Constitution of India starts with “We, the People”. In responding to its citizens’ concerns, humility and rapprochement could have furthered the Government’s objectives much better. The Government has achieved so much in the last five years – why not focus on the positives, rather than lowering the level of the discourse?

Tara Sahgal, Intern, Bridge India

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