DMK throws a challenge

Tamils & CAA

By Insaf

The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu has given a fresh twist to Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. In an affidavit in Supreme Court, it has held that it’s discriminatory to exclude Tamil refugees from CAA’s purview and sought the Act be declared null and void as it’s unconstitutional and “destroys the basic fabric of secularism.”Besides, itcovers only 3 countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh) and covers only Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christian communities, leaving out Muslims, who had suffered persecution and thus is ‘highly discriminatory and manifestly arbitrary’. The DMK is peeved at Indian origin Tamils, who fled Sri Lanka due to persecution and are now in the country as refugees, being left out of the Act’s ambit. The Centre’s silence, it says amounts to ‘step-motherly behaviour.’ Being Stateless, they have been denied jobs in government services, private sector and right to property and voting, thus living “in constant fear of deportation and an uncertain future.”Elaborating that Tamils have faced “rampant persecution” due to minority status since Lanka’s independence from British rule, the affidavit claims 3,03,076 people arrived in India as refugees from 1983 to 2010 in four phases and as of January 2010, 4,61,631expatriates were registered. Will Centre take the bait, given it desperately needs a southern outreach?

Gujarat’s Nasty Campaign
Curtains came down on the first phase of polling in Gujarat on Thursday last. While candidates can heave a sigh of relief, it’s a long road on the campaign trail for warring political parties. The big question is will the BJP ‘break all records and win over two-thirds of the seats’, as claimed. The familiar straight fight between BJP and Congress turned triangular with AAP’s entry, hoping to open its account in yet another State. The BJP is looking to retain its 27-year-long rule, as Congress struggles to exist and is counting on anti-incumbency factor to rescue it. The voter turnout for 89 seats across 19 districts was over 57% with polling being by and large peaceful. But the campaign was a tu-tu-mein-mein. Distasteful, to say the least.Local issues sadly appear to be taking a backseat with barbs between BJP and Congress hitting a new low!
A sample of election bites: at a rally, Prime Minister Modi said “a competition was on among Congress leaders as to who will use the most abusive words against him…these were an insult to Gujarat and its people because he was raised by the people of this land…teach them a lesson by voting for the lotus…” His ministers released videos of the PM being ‘insulted’. Congress President hit back: “Modi claims that Congress gives him two kgs of gaalis (abuses) every day. The fact is you give us four quintals of gaalis everyday…Without it, you are unable to digest your food…sometimes Modiji says he is poor. For how long you will keep saying this? If he remains poor even after serving as CM as well as PM for two decades, then imagine the plight of Dalits, poor people and tribals…’ At the end of the poll tamasha, shouldn’t sympathy rest with the ‘poor’ voter in every sense of the word?

High Stake MCD Polls
Elections for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi have added to the poll season. Stakes are high and both the AAP and BJP are slugging it out, though with a marked difference. While the BJP is wooing the voter with big guns—Union ministers and Chief Ministers of UP, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the AAP reaches out to theaam admi with its team of ministers and councillors, as chief Kejriwal is busy with Gujarat. And gives an interesting twist to BJP’s strategy saying the ‘lotus’ party ‘has to use CMs and Union ministers and even Modi’s image for MCD as they can’t fight the polls on the work done since no work has been done by them in the past 15 years!’ At the same time, it seeks to take a leaf out of the BJP book. Elect our councillors as AAP is in power in Delhi or have common representation at all levels – AAP’s MP, AAP’s legislators and AAP’s councillor, is one key message. Sounds odd as Kejriwal has all along opposed Modi’s similar appeal in other States. Guess, he is aware of the saying: Beat him at his own game.

Stricter Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand seeks not to fall behind other BJP States when it comes to checking ‘love jihad’ and on the other being ahead in providing reservation to women of the State. On Wednesday last, its Assembly passed the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2022 — a stricter version of the anti-conversion Bill. This makes unlawful conversion from one religion to another a cognisable and non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment for a term of at least three to a maximum of 10 years (as against one and 7 years), the offender will also be liable to pay a fine of at least Rs 50,000 and may also be liable to pay a compensation of up to Rs 5 lakh to the victim. Additionally, Uttarakhand Public Services (Horizontal Reservation for Women) Bill, 2022 was passed granting 30% horizontal reservation to domiciled women of in state services. It was justified saying that due to heterogeneous geographical structure of the hill State, people, especially women living in remote areas lead a difficult life, due to which their standard of living is below the women of other States. Therefore, the State‘seeks to ensure social justice, equality of opportunity, improvement in living standards, gender equality in public planning, etc.’ Call it enlarging the Hindu vote bank.

Goa Fest &Kashmir Files
Goa scripted an unexpected ‘blockbuster’ at the end of IFFI. Israeli director and chairperson of the jury Nadav Lapid was script writer. At the closing ceremony on Monday last he said “…We were, all of us, disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, ‘The Kashmir Files’. That felt to us likea propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.” He had stirred the hornet’s nest. Sudipto Sen, a jury member tweeted it was ‘his personal opinion’; I&B Minister Thakur retweeted it; Director Agnihotri tweeted “Truth is most dangerous thing. It can make people lie.”; Actor Anupam Kher said Lapid “himself is vulgar and an opportunist who used this platform to put forth his ‘propaganda’ or whatever he believes in.”; in an open letter Israeli Ambassador NaorGilon said “You have abused in the worst way the Indian invitation to chair the panel of judges as well as trust, respect, and warm hospitality they have bestowed on you.” Initially, Lapid withstood the backlash saying: “Making bad films is not a crime, but this is a very crude, manipulative and violent propaganda film…we learned the film was pushed into the competition due to political pressure…” But days later said: “I didn’t want to insult anyone. My aim was never to insult the people or their relatives, who have suffered. I totally apologise if that’s the way they interpreted it”. However, it wasn’t The End for he added: “But at the same time, whatever I said and I said clearly that for me and my fellow jury members, it was and is a vulgar propaganda movie…I can repeat it again and again.” Bizarre climax alright, and perhaps there will be a Part Two? — INFA