“Will the government question the citizenship of the people who voted for them?” That’s among questions journalist Ravish Kumar posed to journalists when he was asked about the planned National Register of Citizens at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh.
On November 20, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had announced in the Rajya Sabha that a National Register of Citizens would be conducted across India in an attempt o create a list of “genuine citizens’, but promised that there would be “no religious discrimination in its implementation”. Many believe that the exercise will discriminate against India’s 200 million Muslims.
NDTV India news anchor Kumar asked the reporters if they would feel insulted when they are asked to produce documents related their grandparents to prove that they are Indian. He also commented on the discriminatory nature of the Citizenship Act. “It was done so that we sit and debate this, and now there’s talk of a Hindu-Muslim divide in the streets,” he said. “The government took away the rights of a group of people...”
Kumar said that many poor people would die in their attempt to produce citizenship documents, irrespective of their religion. “Illiteracy among the women of the country is higher than that among the men, and many of them neither have any property in their names nor any bank documents, what will they do?” he said,
The journalist emphasised the need for India’s citizens to pick sides. “Every person has to pick a role right now, or this storm will not give them a second chance,” he said.
Kumar oobserved that the the Indian media has become “anti-democratic”. “Most media outlets today are subverting the voices of the Opposition and of dissent, and not asking the government any questions” he said.
Speaking on whether he would join politics in the future, Kumar said that it all depends on industrialists who lend private jets to politicians during the election campaigning.