Joe Biden's latest missteps in presidential campaign: Opposing CAA, NRC, scrapping of special status of Kashmir
US presidential hopeful Joe Biden has wandered into a swamp where UK's Labour Party leader and defeated prime ministerial candidate Jeremy Corbyn's ankles got stuck and he could never recover.
The Democrat nominee wants India to "restore the rights of Kashmiris", and is disappointed over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and rolling out of National Register for Citizens in Assam.
According to 'Joe Biden's agenda for Muslim American community', a policy paper posted on his campaign website, CAA and NRC are inconsistent with India's long tradition of secularism.
This is the US election year and there are roughly 4 million Indian-Americans in the country, an increasingly influential community. That Biden has regardless blundered into this sensitive and surcharged ground of Indian politics shows how much sway global Islamist and far-Left forces hold on certain Western parties and individuals. It also shows up the former US vice president as either uninformed or being willing to lie.
Kashmir has seen Pakistan-backed Islamist separatism and terror since decades, peaking in the '90s when the entire minority Hindu Pandit community was ethnically cleansed from their homeland. The Narendra Modi government on 5 August, 2019, corrected a historic mistake by India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru of giving special status to Kashmir.
That special status under Article 370 and Article 35A was used to fan separatism and deny rights to women, backward castes, homosexuals and migrant workers. It is astounding that the man applying for the most powerful job in the world should ignore this context and not mention how rights of these vulnerable groups have now been restored.
While internet services were suspended for a few months after the abrogation of Article 370 to prevent use of social media to stage attacks, terrorist activity has derailed normal life in the Valley for much longer periods.
In fact, terror attacks and Intifada-style stone-throwing has come down sharply since August.
Biden's stance on the CAA is both facile and hypocritical. The CAA has been brought to fast-track citizenship for six minorities " Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis " in three Muslim-majority nations in India's neighbourhood where these minorities face systematic killings, blasphemy laws, rapes, conversions and land grab. And the CAA does not stop a Muslim from any of these countries to apply for Indian citizenship under the regular laws.
The US has a CAA equivalent in the Lautenberg Amendment. It provides special treatment to persecuted minorities -- Jews, Evangelical Christians, Ukrainian Catholics or Ukrainian Orthodox -- who are the nationals from the former Soviet Union, Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. This law was expanded in 2004 to include Jews, Christians, Baha'is and other religious minorities from Iran.
Is Biden suggesting that the Lautenberg Amendment makes America less secular and should be scrapped?
Even in the case of the NRC, Biden reveals terrible double-standards. Is it wrong or illegal for a nation to keep its registry of bona fide citizens? Should resources in a developing country go to illegal immigrants and squatters? Should takeover of culture be facilitated by the state in the name of secularism?
The US is being tight-fisted over issuing H1B visas to those who legitimately apply and go there to work, but Biden expects India to open its gates to millions of illegal Bangladeshi and Rohingya immigrants?
Biden has walked into very troubling territory. Indian-Americans, who enjoy growing clout and have assimilated themselves with the American mainstream by hard work, respecting the host culture, and contributing economically, will not take this lying down. They are getting more and more involved in politics as donors, voters or candidates.
Since Modi became the prime minister, this diaspora has very vocally and aggressively connected back with its roots. India is not just the land they or their forefathers had left in search of a better future any more. They take active interest in Indian politics, work for the well-being of not just their host country but also their mother nation.
This is an impulse Donald Trump understands. He has steadfastly wooed Modi. His 2016 campaign even borrowed Modi's 2014 poll slogan 'Abki baar Modi sarkar (this time, it will be Modi's government)' and modified it to 'Abki baar, Trump sarkar' to regale Indian-American voters.
And not just the Indian diaspora, majority Americans have woken up to Muslim appeasement and where it leads society to. They will see through Biden's attempt.
With his latest utterances, Biden has not only got on the wrong side of facts, but also a big part of the voting population.