PresenterRoy Suryapratim - Trinity College Dublin, Law, Dublin, Ireland
Panel22 – The present democratic crisis in South Asia: causes, distinctive elements and historical precedents
Over the last decade, majoritarian violence and religious divisiveness in India has been brought about through citizenship policy. This has been brought about by mob justice, incendiary speeches by members of the government, police violence, and importantly through legislation. A curious facet of such phenomena is justification through law, including constitutional language. In this paper, we show that contrary to scholarship on the death of the Indian constitution, this has been enabled by the Indian constitution.
Post-Partition divisiveness during the time of independence was dealt with by the Constituent Assembly by deferral of citizenship to ordinary law, and constitutional provisions on communal nationalism were inserted, which are amenable to political mobilization. These elements were seized by the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for the discursive reterritorialisation of India into a Hindu state via constructions of the Indian citizen. We argue that the current political climate has been constitutionally accommodated; this is why despite there being no recent constitutional change, the process of creating a Hindu state is being achieved through law. A key tool in this process is citizenship law, and the accompanying political discourse on Indian citizenship.