Skip to main content

Govt order to "declare" 20 lakh Assamese foreigners: blogger; it's conspiracy to brand 1.9 crore illegal citizens: CJP

An NRC office in Assam
By Our Representative
Will a whopping 20 lakh Assamese be declared foreigners? In a significant blog, senior Guwahati lawyer Aman Wadud, referring to the May 2, 2018 order of the State Coordinator of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) – signed by Prateek Haleja, IAS, in charge of home and political department, and state coordinator of NRC – has apprehended that stage has been already prepared exactly for this.
The order, sent to officials looking after the job of scrutinizing citizenship across all the state’s districts, citing an year-old judgment of the Guwahati High Court, insists on the need to “make references” of not just those who had entered Assam after the cutoff date, March 25, 1971, but also their siblings, i.e. “such persons, namely, brothers, sisters and other family members”, wanting their citizenship should also be kept “pending.”
Suggesting that the order contradicts the provision of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and other Rules, Wadud says, Sec 3 (1)(a) of the Act “states that every person born in India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987 shall be a citizen of India by birth.”
Based on this, Wadud argues, “Now even if a person is declared as ‘foreigner’, his siblings might have born in India before July 1, 1987, which makes them a citizen of India by birth.”
According to Wadud, “There are many cases where one member of a family is declared as ‘foreigner’ and the same tribunal has declared their siblings as Indian citizens. So keeping the names of siblings of so-called foreigners pending in NRC is illegal and contradictory to relevant statutes.”
Wadud argues, so far, there are around 80,000 persons who have been declared “foreigners”.
“Let’s assume, on an average a so-called foreigner has four siblings. That makes a total of 3.2 lakh siblings. Along with the declared ‘foreigners’, this makes up a total of four lakh people.”
“The family members of these four lakh people will include their children and grandchildren. On an average at least six family members of each person (considering higher fertility rate among poor and illiterate people who have been declared foreigners) thus it makes over two million people!”
Contradicting the NRC order, Wadud says, the Guwahati High Court, its order vide order dated May 2, 2017, only asked “the jurisdictional Superintendent of Police (B) to enquire into the status of the brothers, sisters and other family members of the declared foreigners and, thereafter, to make a reference to the competent Foreigners’ Tribunal.”
But, says Wadud, the tribunal order dated May 2, 2018 “equates the siblings and family members of declared ‘foreigners’ with D-voters aka Doubtful Voters”, a term coined by the Election Commission of India in 1997 to identify “any voter whose citizenship documents appeared to be inadequate”.
Meanwhile, a human rights organization, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), has in an online petition has apprehended that the whole game is “one of a conspiracy of ‘othering’ and exclusion.” Asking people to sign the petition, which is to be sent to the Supreme Court of India, says that, in all,”3.29 crore people from 68.27 lakh families in Assam have submitted over 6.5 crore documents with the NRC to prove their Indian citizenship.”
CJP underscores, “But the NRC recently published a list of only 1.9 crore as legal citizens. A huge number of 1.39 crore Assamese, almost all Muslim, are under threat of having their legitimate citizenship revoked.”
It continues, “Imagine your citizenship being revoked. You find yourself suddenly stateless, without not just a home but also the right to call a country your home. You are condemned to soul-crushing poverty, you cannot earn a livelihood, cannot send your children to school!”, insisting, “Proof of citizenship is just a “tool of exclusion.”

Comments

PRATEEK HAJELA, IAS, STATE COORDINATOR, NRC, ASSAM said…
NRC update in the state of Assam was ordered by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in their orders issued in 2013. Since then, the process is being closely monitored by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. NRC update is a legal process carried out in accordance with the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 with cut-off date of 24th March, 1971 decided as per Assam Accord. NRC update provides for an exhaustive, objective and transparent system of verification which gives adequate opportunity to each applicant to prove his/her eligibility for inclusion in NRC. It is worth mentioning that during the period of last 3-4 months, approximately one crore people have appeared before different verifying authorities, wherein they have been given fair opportunity to project their cases. This also proves that the public have actively participated and cooperated with the verification process. Compilation of verification results has still not completed. As such, figures of rejection projected by various persons, organisations, media etc are totally speculative in nature. The NRC authorities are absolutely confident of producing an accurate NRC that ensures inclusion of all genuine Indian citizens and exclusion of all ineligible persons.

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

Lynching as state terror? Complete dearth of 'political will' to deal with mob violence

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Friday July 5, thousands of people had gathered at a rally in Surat to protest against the growing mob lynching incidents in different parts of the country. There are different interpretations at what happened during the rally: with police blaming the rallyists and those in the rally blaming the police for using teargas shells upon them without any reason.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.