Yesterday, former Chief Minister of Mizoram, Lal Thanhawla, sparked controversy as the Congress party leader was seen holding a banner in support of independent Mizoram during a protest against the Citizenship Bill in state’s capital, Aizawl.
The controversy broke out after the President of Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) Lal Thanhawla and his wife join Thousands of protestors to the streets against Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016. The protest was organized by NGOs Co-Ordination Committee of Mizoram. Shockingly, the former CM of the grand old party also endorsed a black banner which read, “Hello independent republic of Mizoram.”
Mizoram PCC chief Lal Thanhawla and his wife join Thousands of protestors to the streets against Citizenship Amendment Bill-2016. The protest was organised by NGOs Co-Ordination Committee of Mizoram. pic.twitter.com/pieGnfReRW
— CS Thanga (@CSThanga) February 12, 2019
The protests in the Northeast come at a time when the Union government led by the BJP is trying to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Last month, thousands of protesters marched in Aizawl with posters that read, “Hello China, bye bye India”!
The new bill that is proposed by the NDA government seeks to amend the existing Citizenship Act of 1955. The latest bill is focused on granting citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhist, Parsis and Christians from three Muslim-majority countries in South Asia – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The bill has already been passed in Lok Sabha but is yet to be cleared by the upper house.
Hindus in Bangladesh (and erstwhile East Pakistan) have faced ethnic cleansing since 1947. In 2017, at least 107 people of the Hindu community were killed and 31 fell victims to enforced disappearance. According to a report presented at a press conference, Poilash Kanti Dey, general secretary of Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Mohajote (BJHM), had come up with some startling statistics on the atrocities of Hindus in Bangladesh. Poilash revealed that 782 Hindus were either forced to leave the country or threatened to leave. Besides, 23 were forced to get converted into other religions. He further mentioned that 25 Hindu women and children were raped, while 235 temples and statues vandalized during the year. The total number of atrocities happened with the Hindu community in the year 2017 is 6474.
Even the Rohingyas who have faced “ethnic cleansing” in Myanmar have not spared the Hindus in the community. According to an Amnesty International report, hundreds of Hindus were massacred by the Rohingyas. Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International said, “Our latest investigation on the ground sheds much-needed light on the largely under-reported human rights abuses by ARSA during northern Rakhine State’s unspeakably dark recent history.”
The Congress party has a lot of questions to answer, the most important being, why can’t they have a consistent position on any given issue for once? The inherently biased media is somewhat shaping the narrative totally against the bill. Is it not true that Hindus, Sikhs, and other minorities are abject victims of a tyrannical regime in Pakistan too, and of a terror-struck state in Afghanistan? Congress and media should be ashamed of themselves for pretending to stand with the people of the Northeast when all that they are doing is trying to hurt the unstoppable growth of the BJP in the region.