Skip to main content

Assam citizenship imbroglio: Guwahati HC order a setback to siblings, family members of "declared foreigners"

By Our Representative
In what is being viewed as a major setback to those who have been fighting against the decision of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of Assam seeking to qualify names of siblings and other members of family as kept pending, the Guwahati High Court has upheld the NRC State coordinator’s controversial order in this regard.
The order was issued by on May 2, 2018 by NRC state coordinator, Prateek Hajela, who said, the names of siblings and other family members of DFs be “kept pending” from NRC. Human rights activists say, the order had made “entire families vulnerable only because one person in their family has been declared a foreigner.”
Following the HC order, siblings and other family members of Declared Foreigners (DFs) would now have to submit documents proving their citizenship before a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT), even as proving the authenticity of these documents. They are unlikely to see their name in the NRC draft that is expected to be out on July 30, 2018.
The Citizens for Peace and Justice (CPJ), led by well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, has said in a statement, “There is also the fear that this would render section 3 (1) (a) of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 meaningless. According to this section, every person born in India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987 shall be a citizen of India by birth.”
CPJ says, “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. Moreover, say a person actually illegally infiltrated in to India post-March 25, 1971 and finally declared a ‘foreigner’ by the Tribunal, his siblings might have entered before the cut-off date as per Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955, that does not make them a foreigner.”
The controversial NRC order of May 2, 2018 stems from a Guwahati High Court order from exactly a year ago. In 2017, the court passed a common order on two interrelated writ petitions pertaining to the citizenship status of one Aktara Khatoon. The petitioner in the first case (360/2017) had been declared a foreigner by the Foreigners’ Tribunal at Nagaon on October 31, 2016.
While passing the order the Tribunal directed the Superintendent of Border (Hojai), to conduct a fresh inquiry into the brothers and sisters of Aktara Khatun, stating that if she was a foreigner, her brothers and sister from the same father also cannot be citizens of India. These siblings Abdul Motin, Abdul Kadir and Sahara Khatun became the petitioners in the second case (1610/2017).
The HC disposed of both the cases by passing a common order that stated, “…Once a proceedee is declared to be a foreigner it would only be a logical corollary to such declaration that his brothers, sisters and other family members would also be foreigners.”
It added, “Therefore, it becomes the duty of the jurisdictional Superintendent of Police (B) to cause enquiry in respect of the brothers, sisters and other family members of the declared foreigners and thereafter, to make a reference to the competent Foreigners’ Tribunal against such brothers, sisters and other family members.”
Following the High Court directive, the NRC state coordinator on May 2, 2018 said that the names of brothers, sisters and other family members of DFs ‘pending’. The order was issued by the state coordinator, NRC, to all Deputy Commissioner and District Registrar of Citizen Registration (DRCR) of all districts.
The order said, “As per this judgment, the Superintendent of Police (B) are required to make references of such persons, namely, brothers, sisters and other family members of Declared Foreigners (DF) to the Foreigners Tribunals and their names are accordingly not be included in the NRC until finalization of such references.”
According to CPJ, “There is a mechanism in place to address claims and objections even if someone’s name does not appear in the final draft; however, given the complications that have already cropped up, many fear that the provision might just be yet another futile bureaucratic exercise making proving citizenship an insurmountable challenge.”

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.