ILLEGAL: Will Santa be treated as an illegal migrant and put in a camp preventing him from distributing toys to the children of India
BY RAJAN NARAYAN
Producing not only your birth certificate but that of your parents and possibly grandparents is going to be like an archeological expedition to find out which temple was demolished before Emperor Babar allegedly built the Babri Masjid. Except in Goa in no other state are documents maintained as meticulously. Indeed the poorest of the poor are more worried about getting atleast one meal a day rather than maintaining and preserving their birth certificates. Even good old Santa Claus may be kept out of India because he cannot produce his birth certificate.
THE Supreme Court has admitted appeals against theConstitutional Amendment Act. The act has not been stayed as it is not come into force. There are 59 PILs challenging the Contitutional validity of the Act. If the act is passed a National Citizens Register which will have to be signed following verification of the stipulated documents.
Witch hunt has already started. Goa is nowhere near Bangladesh. There is no history of Bangladeshi migrants swamping Goa as they are alleged to have flooded Assam and West Bengal. But the police, including the Goa police apparently think that all of us are terrorists. That we should spy on each other. They want to divide the only state in the country which has been consistently secular. The only state which has had no communal riots. Yes, a lot of Muslims have migrated to Goa. But so have a lot of Hindus. And the Muslims who have migrated to Goa are from Karnataka and Konkan part of Maharashtra and from Swami Yogi Adityanth’s Uttar Pradesh and Narendra Modi’s Gujarat.
The largest number of migrants ironically are from Orissa and Nepal. Yet the Goa police, obviously on the instructions of the Home Ministry has already disturbed the harmony which attracts the whole world to Goa. Indeed, right at the moment the whole world is in Goa not only for Christmas, New Year, Sunburn music festival, but also the ongoing Serendipity arts festival which has brought artists, musicians, culinary expert restaurateurs and the crème de la crème of India’s creative people.
On Sunday there was a folk music festival which brought folk artistes from all over the country, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. In a large quarter page color advertisement the Goa Police on behalf of the non-existent Director General of Police has provoked peace loving sussegad Goans (laid back Goans) to be their eyes and ears to help them in their fight against crime and terrorism.
POLICE SEEKS HELP
THOUGH there have been several terror warnings there has not been a single case of terrorism registered in Goa. The advertisement we’re talking about here was not issued in the name of the Director General of Police, who regrettably died of a heart attack in Delhi a few days ago. No substitute has been appointed in his place. The advertisement was issued in the name of the late DG Nanda and asks all car dealers, security guards, taxi operators, shopkeepers, parking attendant, cyber café owners and a small shop owners (gaddo?) to report anything suspicious to No.1093. The inclusion of taxi operators is particularly dangerous in the light of the ongoing fight between the Goa Miles taxi operators and private tourist taxi operators. They may out of malice report on each other as being involved in terrorist activity.
migrants not terrorists
Terrorism as far as tourist taxis are concern means Goa Miles or even any Goan hijacking their passengers from hotels or airport. Clearly all the BJP rule states in the country including Goa have been asked to start a program which in Nazi terms means systematic persecution and harassment of minorities and anyone else including Portuguese passport holders whom the cops might dislike. We are going to see an action replay of the sentential scheme introduced by a former DG Muktesh Chandra who asked Goans to click pictures of two-wheeler and four-wheeler drivers breaking any of the traffic rules and send them to the Police Traffic vigilance cell. Which in turn not only sends challan but rewarded those who played I-Spy.
Indeed, for unemployed people it has become a business with some sentential spies became lakhpati if not crorepati. You could actually see them at the Miramar circle waiting for bakra. We don’t believe that there is any major threat to Goa. There have been no incidence of terrorism or major crimes in the last two months when Goa has seen IFFI, the feast of St Francis Xavier, the Goa Arts & Literary Festival now Serendipity. There has not even been reports of mobiles or laptops being stolen. But the Modi government in its wisdom obviously presumes that everyone, from the minority Muslim community in particular, is a potential criminal or terrorist. The onus of proving that you are a patriotic Indian falls on you. According to the Police Department and Home Minister Amit Shah you are guilty till you can prove yourself innocent beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt.
All these years we thought that the Aadhar card was our proof of being Indian citizens. Nandan Nilankani, who headed the Aadhar card project made it clear that only Indian citizens were entitled to an Aadhar card. Never mind that I have witnessed many Nepali, Thai and Indonesian workers settled in Goa with Aadhar cards! Reportedly, in Vasco da Gama one may pay `.1,800 or so to get an Aadhar card across the table.
When I applied for my Aadhar card I submitted my birth certificate. Besides that I submitted my Pan card, my voter ID card, my driving license, my insurance card and the card issue by my company to prove my Indian and residential bona fides. Subsequently we were told that we had to link our Aadhar and pan card to our bank accounts. So it is natural to assume that one’s Aadhar card is proof of Indian citizenship and nationalism. We are Indian citizens. But now it is apparently not so.
RECENTLY, a magistrate in Dahisar near Mumbai sentenced a Muslim woman claiming to be a resident of West Bengal to one year’s imprisonment on the alleged grounds that she was a refugee from Bangladesh. The magistrate rejected her Aadhar card, Pan card and sale deed documents she produced by way of being an Indian national or citizen. Another magistrate in Mumbai agreed with his colleague but acquitted an accused who was arrested on suspicion of being an intruder on the grounds that he had an Indian passport! So clearly if you go by the judgment of magistrates with different views you may not have to produce any documents to prove you are India if you have a passport.
But for the Sangh Parivar you need much more evidence than an Aadhar card, Pan card, voters ID card, ration card, power and water bills which are accepted even by banks as proof of residence. According to the recent amendment to the Citizenship Act you have to produce your birth certificate. You not only have to produce your birth certificate but date and place of birth. This is not enough to prove you are an Indian Citizen. I am wondering if Vijai Sardesai, born in Venunzula, will pass as an Indian citizen. What is even more of concern to Goa and Goans is if they are registered in the books of the Portuguese government in Lisbon before Liberation as Portuguese citizens, will they remain Indian citizens too.
The case of Goans working on Portuguese passports in the UK is of particular concern as if there is no deal on Brexit by January 31, 2020, they may be told to leave UK. They cannot come to India as we do not recognize dual citizenship yet. So they will be stateless people like many Bangladeshi and Rohingiya (Muslims persecuted in Burma) who are languishing in detention camps in Assam in other north-eastern states of India.
On the face of it, it seems a simple solution to produce a birth certificate as proof of identity. Particularly the literate and rich who are very careful and recognize the importance of documents. This is because documents, particularly birth certificates, are very important when it comes to inheritance of property. But at ground level it is not easy even for the educated and well-to-do.
rock band arrested
The Goa Police were quick to misuse their powers to arrest members of a Rock Band for religious insult at the Serendipity Art Fest. The four members of “Dastan Live”, incluidng two artist from Delhi and two from Bengaluru were arrested on a complaint by a Delhi based SC lawyer.Venkata Krishna Kunduru. The charge against them was that they misued the platform of Serendipity Art Festival 2019, when they were performing at the Dayanand Bandodkar ground by using the word OM with words like “ullu ka patta”(fool). The artists, Suman Chandrashekar, Arnirban Ghosh from Delhi and Nirmala Ravindran and Shiv Pathak from Bengaluru were later released on bail.
Admittedly there are crimes in Goa. But Goa has never witnessed the kind of Nirbhaya crimes that other states in the country have witnessed. There is been no incidence of mass rape as torture as allegedly in the now infamous case of Unao. There have never been incidence like the brutal rape of a vetenary intern as in the Telangana case. There have been no clashes between members of the various communities from all over the country who have made Goa their home. The only high profile incident of sexual harassment in the work place was covered by the national media because Tarun Tejpal, former editor of Tehelka, was involved in their last Think event.
The fate of poor migrants Hindu or Muslim who have flooded Goa is much worse. Forget about the migrants, the situation of many members of tribal Gawde, Velip, Kunbi and Dhangar communities is worse. I recall that I had to go through a very complicated process because my Gawde maid of old when I resided in Dona Paula wanted a birth certificate. She not only had to sign an affidavit which had to be counter signed by Advocate Guru Shrirodkar who lived in Ivo village, but she had to also produce eight witnesses. The affidavit had to be filed with a deputy collector in the presence of the eight witnesses. With all my contacts and influence it took me almost three months to get the job done for her, as the deputy collector was always busy with some work or the other.
PLIGHT OF TRIBALS
CAN you imagine the plight of tribals of Goa, leave alone poor migrants who come to Goa to earn a more decent livelihood. When I went out for a much needed hair cut recently I saw some very young Muslim boys trying to learn how to cut hair. I asked them where they were from and they mentioned the name of a village in Uttar Pradesh. I asked them where the village was and all that they could say was that it was near Gorakhpur, which is the Headquarters of UP Chief Minister Swami Yogi Adityanath.
Similarly, if you ask any Karnataka resident Hindu or Muslim, they will tell you they are from some village near Hubli or Belgavi but will probably will not have a birth certificate to prove it and particularly if they are 50 years, plus, plus. This is because most child deliveries in the villages, even 10 years ago, were done by midwives. There were no doctors or hospitals available locally at one time. We have seen enough photographs in national newspapers of parents or wives having to carry their seriously injured family members in a hand cart for over 20 or 30 miles to the nearest hospital.
Fortunately, we in Goa are much better off than people in other parts of the country. This is because the Portuguese who ruled Goa for almost 500 years were very particular about maintaining documents of birth and death. This was because of the Uniform Civil Code which entitled all children and wife shares in the property of the husband and a wife who may have died. Indeed, no property can change hands in Goa without an inventory being prepared of the record of the property. Every sale deed in Goa irrespective of who is the builder has details of the current owner, parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
So no Goan should have any difficulty producing the birth and death certificates of parents and grandparents providing they were born before Liberation. But there is no guarantee that they will find their own date of birth in the Civil Registrar’s office as a visit to the Civil Registrar’s office at Junta House will prove. Post-Liberation Indian records are maintained so badly that the Registrar of Births & Deaths is unlikely to find his own birth certificate.
If you belong to some other state which did not maintain records like the Portuguese did, than you are in real trouble. Most states do not maintain the records of births and deaths of their residents, particularly in the villages. In the rest of India it is not even compulsory to register a marriage unlike in Goa. In Goa you first register your marriage and then have a religious ceremony. So asking for an individual’s birth certificate may be reasonable, but asking for his parents and grandparents certificates is impracticable.
We think the Citizens (Amendment) Bill or CAB has been passed just as a means to harass minorities, Muslim communities and Goan Portuguese passport-holders if need be.
All of us have to help not only poor migrants but also our tribal brothers and sisters. If you have lost your birth certificate, you can apply for a duplicate to the Mamlatdar or Panchayat in the town or village where you were born. Even the birth records of your parents should be available with the civil registrar of your city, town or village. You can also swear an affidavit before the deputy collector on stamp paper along with witnesses.