EDITORIAL: Bengal Resolves…

NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN) –​ Monday’s huge rally by a cross-section of Christian denominations and teachers of schools, run by Protestant and Catholic churches, has conveyed a robust message to the likes of Amit Shah.

West Bengal has in a sense been overtaken by Kerala and Punjab. The three states are respectively helmed by three very different parties ~ Trinamul Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and the Indian National Congress. Nonetheless, the convergence of interest over a terribly emotive issue is what is remarkable, reaffirming the resilience of the democratic engagement.

Having said that, Mamata Banerjee would arguably have reaped greater goodwill had the state Assembly passed the resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act much earlier than she has resolved, specifically on the morrow of Republic Day. It will be a far more concrete initiative than the convulsions and worse in the campuses and more recently the Church that is up in arms against the BJP’s essay towards a redefinition of citizenship 72 years after freedom was won.

Monday’s huge rally by a cross-section of Christian denominations and teachers of schools, run by Protestant and Catholic churches, has conveyed a robust message to the likes of Amit Shah, though on Tuesday he ruled out a withdrawal of the legislation… “come what may”. Arguably, the Bengal CM, who has been in the vanguard of the movement, had at one stage conveyed the impression that she would rather wait and watch.

Hence perhaps the delay in deciding on a legislative resolution, not to overlook the quirk that Trinamul Congress MPs had abstained from voting on the CAA bill in the Rajya Sabha. On the eve of her visit to North Bengal, she was spot on when she averred that there is a remarkable degree of ignorance at the level of opponents to the measure, notably on the provisions of the National Population Register. Even within the campuses of Bengal, there is little or no clarity about the ramifications of CAA, NRC and NPC.

As often as not, the rumbustous rallies are rooted in half-baked ideas. Miss Banerjee’s suggestion to the north-eastern states is relevant in the context of the movement in West Bengal, now almost endemic and violently so. Still more basically, it lends no scope for such aberrations as witnessed at Jadavpur University and more recently, Visva-Bharati. Which explains her caveat to the north-eastern states not to craft the NPR ~ “a dangerous game”.

Not many are perhaps aware that the NPR form seeks details of birth and proof of residence of parents. Her caveat is addressed no less to as many as four NE states that are governed by the BJP ~ Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. And if indeed certain columns in the NPR form ~ pertaining to parental details ~ are not “mandatory”, the Chief Minister has very pertinently posed the obvious query ~ Why have these been retained in the form at all? Markedly, her presentation has eventually been riveted to specifics, abjuring effusions of rabble-rousing rhetoric. The fineprint must be that the supporters and opponents must grasp the ramifications of such laws. No, they haven’t quite yet. Of course, moving the Supreme Court is yet another option.

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