December 11, 2019
Derek O’Brien speaks on The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019
Sir I will open in Bengali and then will come to English.
“ঈশ্বর আমার বিদ্যাসাগর
ঠাকুর আমার রবীন্দ্রনাথ
রাম আমার রামমোহন
কাজী আমার নজরুল
ফকির আমার লালন
বাঙালির ধর্ম বাঙালিই জানে, বাঙালিই মানে”
স্যার, আমি কেন এই কথাগুলো আজ বলছি? কারণ ডিসেম্বরের এই সময়টা বাঙালির জন্য খুব পবিত্র। ডিসেম্বর-এর তিন তারিখে শহীদ ক্ষুদিরাম বসু জন্মেছিলেন। ডিসেম্বর-এর আট তারিখ। জন্মেছিলেন বীর বিপ্লবী বাঘা যতীন। আর ১৯৩০ সালের ৮ই ডিসেম্বরের কথা কে না জানে। বিনয়-বাদল-দীনেশ রাইটার্স বিল্ডিঙে attack করেছিল।
ইতিহাসের এই অধ্যায় আমাদের গর্বের। এমন একটা পবিত্র সপ্তাহে সরকার কি করলো? তারা একটা ভারত-বিরোধী, বাঙালি-বিরোধী বিল নিয়ে এলো আজ।
তাই আমি বলছি, স্যার, কেউ যেন বাঙালিকে দেশপ্রেম শেখাতে না আসে। আজকাল আমরা দেখছি অনেকেই নিজেদের বাঙালি-প্রেমী প্রমাণ করতে চায়। তারাই সংসদে বলছেন বাংলায় নাকি দুর্গা পুজো হয় না, হাজার হাজার দুর্গা পুজো হয় প্রত্যেক স্কুলে সরস্বতী পুজো হয়। আপনারা কি ভাবেন আপনারা কি জানতে চান? শহিদ ক্ষুদিরামের থেকে প্রমান চান।বিনয়-বাদল-দীনেশ কাদের জন্য প্রাণ দিলেন? তাদেরও দিতে হবে প্রমাণ? এই প্রমাণ চায় যারা তাদের বলবো, আন্দামানের সেলুলার জেলের বন্দিদের তালিকাটা একবার ভাল করে দেখতে।৭০% নাম বাঙালির।তাই বলছি, বাঙালিকে দেশপ্রেম শেখাবেন না।বাঙালিকে citizenship শেখাবেন না।ব্রিটিশরা বাঙালিদের দমিয়ে রাখতে পারেনি।আর আপনারা রাখবেন?
Sir, in that House along with many other speakers from All India Trinamool Congress, my colleague Abhishek Banerjee and here everyone will establish that this Bill is unconstitutional and this will be established beyond doubt. We are not going there. There is a view that the Bill from here will go 3.7 kilometers down to another dome building in the Supreme Court. But in between, we have a different view.
In between there will be a people’s movement. There will be ‘Sangram’ (সংগ্রাম). All India Trinamool Congress is used to this. In the 2006 fight for land rights, to fight for the rights of farmers, Mamata Banerjee sat with farmers on a 26-day hunger strike. Before Supreme Court – we respect them a lot – before that there will be a people’s movement against this.
Sir, sometimes you need to prepare for a speech, you get four days, four weeks, four months. For this one, I have had four years to prepare because the All India Trinamool Congress asked me to be on the committee. Sir, so we will make some points from my understanding of this Bill because, as we are moving from a democracy, how we are moving to a dictatorship. Not rhetoric, factual. Because those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
I want to go back 84 years ago to two distinct laws which were passed in Nazi Germany. There is an eerie similarity between what may be passed today and those laws, the Citizenship laws.
Sir without any rhetoric, allow me to make my point citing history. So basically what I am trying to prove in next three or four minutes is how we have drawn, or the people who have drafted this Bill, have drawn from the Nazi copybook.
First, in 1933, concentration camps. And in 2018, detention camps. By the way, in these detention camps, 60 per cent of those people in these detention camps are who? They are Bengali Hindus.
Second, in 1935, read the Reich Citizenship Law which protected those with “German blood”. What do we have today? We have a faulty Citizenship Bill. We are criticising it because they are trying to define who are “truly Indian citizens”. We are criticising this Bill on legitimate grounds.
Third, in 1935, the focus is back to the Nazis. You need an identity to prove Aryan lineage. So what did you have? You were given an ‘ancestor pass’. What is it today? In 2019 you rely on a piece of paper to prove your Indian citizenship, forget about deemed citizens.
Fourth, 1940 is very interesting Sir, that was the plan to deport the Jews. What did they call it? They called it The Madagascar Plan. What do we have? We have a Maha Plan, also known as the NRC.
Fifth, The Germans called it Grosa Luga, this is actually Große Lüge, a term coined by Hitler, and in English, it meant Big Lie. This is very interesting Sir. Today a Big Lie – if you repeat a lie lie lie lie, it sounds like a truth. What is the lie today? “India is under threat – Bharat khatre mein hain”. This is the kind of language which is being used. Sir, that is the Big Lie.
The sixth similarity, it was called the Lügenpresse – was lies and propaganda being pushed against the Jews. And today’s equivalent of the Lügenpresse is the fake news and the media being pressurised to push the fake agenda.
And the last one, Sir. In the German copybook, they referred to a very interesting word. Jews were referred to as ‘rats’. And as someone said, once powerful politicians start using dehumanising language, what happens after that? ‘Termites’ – what are we talking about today, ‘termites’, ‘cockroaches’, ‘vermin’. These words are not used by some party worker. These words are being used sometimes by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister!
Sir yeh rajnaytik dal baat karte hai hak ki aur adheekaar ki.
Iss dal ke neev teen ‘J’ par hai – Jhooth, Jhasa aur Jumla.
Aap kehte hai ghoospetiya aakar aapke adheekaar chheen raha hai. Par sach yeh hai Sir, paach saalo mein do crore logo ne apni naukri khoyee. Two crore people Hindustan mein. Jo desh mein hai, oonka khayaal aap rakh nahi sakte, unko rotee, unko makaan de nahi saktay, aur aap adheekaar ke baat kar rahe hain? Sammaan ke baat kar rahe hain?
Sir, now let’s go to this understanding of the link between the CAB and the NRC and they cannot be separated. We warned the Standing Committee. Four years ago, we made our point then.
What about the NRC, Sir? You couldn’t run the NRC in one state. Your percentage of error was seven per cent. If you extrapolate on a national level when you do the NRC, where are you going to end up? 10 crore people! It did not work in one state, the pilot project did not work, and now you have the gumption to tell Parliament ‘27 mein hoga’! After your pilot has failed!
Sir, let us talk about some numbers from the Standing Committee. The Director of Intelligence Bureau in Parliamentary Committee, because the Prime Minister, the Home Minister are using the numbers. Budh, Sikh, let’s look at the numbers, these are not my numbers. The Director of Intelligence Bureau when he came to us at the Standing Committee, these are the numbers he gave: Buddhists-2, Parsis-2, Christians-55, Sikhs-5,000, 25,000 Hindus. Total, 31,000 <interruptions> When the Home Minister is tokoing (stopping) me, I must be speaking some truth then. Sir, how long will this take? How long will the process take? By when will it be completed? Give us the numbers, Sir.
Now I am coming to the main part of my intervention today. You have made some promises: ‘Kisi ko bhi chinta karne ka koi kaaran nahi hai.’ Nahi Sir, main aapko samjhaunga, ki yeh bahut chinta ka kaaran hai kyunki, aapne aage kya vaada kiya? Aapne vaada kiya, November 2016, Pradhan Mantri: ‘Main sirf 50 din maangta hoon. December 30 tak mujhe mauka dijiye, uske baad desh jo sazaa karega, woh saza I am willing to accept’. The Pradhan Mantri. We all know what happened in demonetisation. Last two years, the term has not been used. Hoax! Doosra! Isliye chinta ka kaaran hai Sir, ‘Chowkidar ki paanch varsh ki chowkidari mein koi bada dhamaka hui kya?’ Chinta ka kaaran hai. Because of 2014-18, 390 hua aur last year, ek saal mein 450 ho gaya?’ Chinta ka kaaran hai, because vaada karta hai.
Now last one, ‘I want to assure all my Gorkha brothers and sisters that none will be inconvenienced.’ Both the Gorkhas and Bengalis fought strongly in the freedom movement. Chinta ka kaaran hai. Aur credibility ki chinta. ‘Naya Asha’ – ‘ab bharat ka ek bara lakshya, 5 trillion dollar economy.’ Sir, this government is very good at making promises. This government is even better at breaking promises.
Sir, who have you left out? Hindus from other states, tribals… And the other point Sir, four months ago you bring a Jammu and Kashmir Bill — one-nation, one-tax, one-election, everything. How come today the rules are different? As per your Bill, you have laid down multiple grounds of citizenship for one country.
I want to touch on how you have treated the Hindus, how you have treated the Bengali Hindus. Let me give you the points Sir. These detention camps, you know 60 per cent of the detention camps are for Bengali Hindus? In the NRC who was excluded? Now you will give me the argument, ‘because they were excluded in the NRC, now they will be included in the CAB’. False promises that Bengali Hindus left out under the NRC citizenship, now if they apply to the NRC, they have to prove they are Indian citizens. And now they have to prove they were from a neighbouring country.
Sir, one crore people came from East Pakistan. This is not about religious persecution. This was linguistic persecution in the 1970s. How many people have lost their documents? Poor, poor people! How many millionaires will be missing from this? None! These are poor people who have lost their documents in floods, ethnic violence. The ‘Mathuas’ of Bengal, have been voting, living, deemed citizens for the last 50 years. What new thing are you giving them? You are packaging it better. Sir, someone said, it may have been the Prime Minister, that after this it will be written in golden letters. Yes, Sir, it will be written in golden letters on the Father of the Nation’s grave. But which Father of the Nation? In Karachi, Mazar-e-Quaid, that will be written on Jinnah’s grave.
Sir, there is this great narrative being built because this is all about perception. There is nothing in this Bill, it is all about perception. So the next one year, let’s create perception. There is no Durga Puja in Bengal, what no Durga Puja in Bengal? Come to Bengal, understand Bengal, Bengal is not the Gujarat gymkhana. We have our little way. With all due respect, we love dhokla, we love the people of Gujarat, but it is not the Gujarat gymkhana. Durga Puja carnival hota hai, Saraswati Puja hota hai school main, saab hota hai. And leave Bengal, you look after anywhere else, you keep bringing Afghanistan main yeh hua, Pakistan main yeh hua… Aarey, UP main kya hua 2008 se, Gandhinagar main kya hua – 80 temples have been desecrated in Gujarat. In Rajasthan in 2000, the figure that I have,104 temples desecrated, Kanpur, Tughlakabad… You are talking about protecting people from all over.
Sir, today at least, the Opposition should stop this argument that this is a distraction because economy is there, it is not a distraction, today we have heard two speakers, the Minister and the speaker, it is not a distraction. This is the agenda. This is the “majority view”. Who is that majority? Check. Forty per cent of India, not 60 per cent of India. But majority does not mean that you are always right. This much you must allow us.
It is majority on one side, this afternoon, but this side is on morality. Today, I appeal to those parties who are sitting here, the JD(U) and the BJD, very humbly, today is the day for you to stand up and be counted. Not because what you have to answer to your chairperson in Bihar or Odisha, No. What will you tell your grandchildren 20 years from now when they ask you which button did you dabao?
Sir, I have got two more points and then I will conclude. Sir, you know when we speak about all this Constitution, history, understanding, state… But as I move to my conclusion, Sir, sometimes the best stories are the personal stories. They are giving us numbers of how the minorities were low here and now the minority numbers have increased, and in those states they have come down.
This is my personal story, the O’Brien family Sir. My great grandfather was Irish, Christian, married to a Bengali Hindu. So if you actually do a DNA test, I don’t know. But 26 per cent toh rah jayega. On a serious note now, my grandfather and his youngest brother stayed back in India. And the eldest brother was in Pakistan. So we have the O’Brien’s of India and the O’Brien’s of Pakistan. 1947. We were in touch. Now what happened, the O’Brien’s of Pakistan either left for Canada, England, Australia or they married. They converted to Islam and they are gone. But the O’Brien’s of India, because of the power of our Constitution, are still standing here Sir, today.
Please understand, that is why we are precisely opposing this Bill.
Sir, I will conclude on two points.
That is precisely the point I was trying to make. Words of advice from Shri Ramakrishna, যত মত তত পথ – as there are a number of beliefs, there are a number of ways.
Sir, on a winter November evening in 2016, <interruption from Speaker> you separated the poor people of this country from their money. Two months later, through a hasty GST, you separated businesses from profit. Three, in August this year, you separated people of Jammu & Kashmir from their state.
With this Bill today, CAB-NRC combined, you want to separate genuine Indian citizens from their own homeland.
NRC হবেনা, CAB হবেনা . We all know it will not happen in Bengal but we will not let it happen anywhere in India.
Jai Hind, Vande Mataram, Joy Bangla.