Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi on Sunday in which he spoke on a number of topics like the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Register of Citizens and detention centres for illegal migrants was marked by much misinformation, ambiguity and even falsehood. The Prime Minister stoutly defended the CAA and blamed the Opposition parties for the protests against it, though most of the protests were spontaneous events resorted to by students and people who were genuinely concerned about the dangerous implications of the law. It was a misrepresentation to dub the protests as resulting from instigation. Modi’s claim that the law is not anti-Muslim will not be accepted, as it is discriminatory and is targeted at Muslims. For him, however, support for it is a test of patriotism.
The Prime Minister lied to the nation over the NRC and detention camps. He said there were no discussions on it, but Home Minister Amit Shah and even President Ram Nath Kovind have told Parliament that there would be a nation-wide NRC. The BJP’s manifesto mentioned it. Was all this done without a discussion? The Prime Minister’s denial was deceit, and an attempt to be clever by half-truths, because he did not say that there would be no NRC in the future. The detention centres being readied in some parts of the country, and the images of some of them, would again nail the lie of his denial of their existence. Such falsehood and misinformation, uttered from a public platform, would only make the lofty sentiments, concerns and commitments expressed there suspect and hypocritical. It will be noted that while expressing sympathy and paying respects for the policemen who fought the protesters, the Prime Minister did not have a word of empathy for the many dead and injured who were, in his version, misled by the friends of Pakistan, ‘urban Naxals’ and assorted anti-nationals.
His party MP from Bengaluru, Tejaswi Surya, went further and insulted the protesters, claiming that only “puncture-wallahs” – the insinuation being clear – were out on the streets protesting. Surya, who has taken the sacred oath to live by and protect the Constitution also said that “namby, pamby” secularism would have no place in the ‘New India’ being created by his party. The contours of that India are becoming clearer from the actions of lynch mobs, the laws being brought about by the government that are violative of the Constitution and the rule of law, the deceit and dissimulation of the Prime Minister and the plain hate-speak of Tejaswi Surya and his ilk.