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Telugu Church: CAA, NPR, NCR are anti-poor, discriminatory; fear grips minorities

By Our Representative
The Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC), at its Annual General Body Meeting (AGBM) on March 3, 2020, has "outrightly" rejected the manner in which Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) are proposed to be implemented in India.
Participated by top Telengana and Andhra Pradesh Church leaders -- archbishops, bishops, heads of churches and leaders of Christian denominations -- at the of St John’s Regional Seminary, Hyderabad, a statement issued at the end of the meet said, they particularly take exception to NPR's new enumeration forms, which unlike in the past, create "fear in the most of the citizens."
Pointing out that the government's stance on CAA, NPR and NCR has led to "violent protests all over our country, resulting in some states like UP and Delhi in many deaths and lot of destruction", the statement says, "CAA links citizenship with religion for the first time, treating Muslims differently from other religions, violating the right to equality and secularism enshrined in our Constitution."
Noting that "Muslims across India rightly feel threatened as it will be easier now to label them illegal under NRC", the statement says, "This will lead to unequal citizenship to which any other religious or caste communities can easily be added in the future."
"Welcoming" the move to give citizenship to "persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries", the statement however says, "This should be done without excluding anyone and irrespective of one’s religious or ideological affiliations". It undrlines the need to "check the infiltrators, illegal migrants, extremists and terrorists to whichever religious or ideological group they may belong."
Stating that the existing citizenship rules have "sufficient provisions" which allow authorities to verify whether those seeking refuge in India are facing persecution, the statement says, CAA excludes Muslims, which "goes against the very soul of our nation and the spirit of Indian civilization which has always cherished the values of hospitality, inclusiveness, tolerance and acceptance of all without any discrimination and differentiation."
There is a lurking danger that poor, landless, women, minorities, Dalits, Adivasis, illiterates, nomadic, migrant communities may be labelled doubtful citizens
According to the statement, with changes being made in the citizenship law, "the present NPR and NRC processes affect everyone, not only Muslims. They are hazardous to anyone who cannot show the documents of their birth and of their parents", adding, this has "already happened in Assam", where "poor, landless, women, minorities, Dalits, Adivasis, illiterates, and nomadic and migrant communities" belonging to any religion have been affected.
It says, "There is a lurking grave danger that most of them would be labelled 'doubtful citizens', and end up losing their citizenship and along with it their basic fundamental rights such as rights to vote and own property, and the constitutional privileges such as reservations."
"Thus", it adds, "This process will result in the supremacy and domination of the Hindu “upper castes” and lead toward establishing Hindu Rastra and undermine the Ambedkarian Constitution that was born out of Independent struggle."
The statement demands that the governments, both at the Centre and States, stop the whole process of CAA, NCR and NPR "until the threats and fears are allayed, and proper assurances, needed amendments and required guarantees are put in place."

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