NRC across India; How BJP can harness communalism

Shaheen Abdulla

Bharatiya Janatha Party chief Amit Shah’s emphasise on their manifesto plans of implementing National Register for Citizens across the nation is largely considered as an excerpt from RSS ideology of “Hindu Motherland”. He promised that BJP will remove ‘every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikh’. While Shah tries to sell it as a national security concern, the discrimination based on religion is derived as a straight forward agenda of Savarkar’s interest of Hindutva.

National Register of Citizens (NRC) which was first prepared after the census in 1951 has been revised In Assam after pressure to detect illegal migrants by All Assam Students Union. The detection and deportation were a clause in the Assam Accord signed by the central government.  While NRC abides for segregating genuine citizens from illegal migrants, the proposed and lapsed amendment of Citizenship act 2016 is focus on the communal segregation.

The Amendment allows the government to provide citizenship to any Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians who faced persecution in their native country. The applicant residing in India for six years can be enrolled even with ‘no documents’. It’s ironic that the bill is moved, at the same time when India is pushing out Rohingya refugees, who have fleed bloodiest genocide in the decade.

We will ensure implementation of NRC in the entire country. We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs: Shri @AmitShah #NaMoForNewIndia— BJP (@BJP4India) April 11, 2019

When Amit Shah repeatedly says infiltrators are termites and they will be deported. He remains silent about the reason why Muslims are left out of the amendment. Even without NRC, many allegations are reported about the removal of Muslim names from the voters’ list in many states.

The final draft of National Register for Citizenship (NRC) updated in Assam last year stripped the citizenship of four million people in the state. The purge of the Bengali community had numerous backlashes as its procedures were unjust and inhumane, violating basic rights, procedure and consideration. Many names were dropped even after documents were produced projecting NRC as a political tool for the cleansing marginalised community.

With reports and shared experience from Assam, Implementation of NRC would be a huge burden if it hit the country.  Most of the illiterate and marginalised communities would fail as they usually fail to maintain the documents. Nearly Seven crore migrant workers won’t be able to vote this year, many because of lack of voter’s ID among other reasons. If citizenship amendment overrules, NRC will only fall on the face of the Muslim communities. The crisis will be far beyond demonetization as here people are questioned about their identity and inheritance.

The fate of the detected illegal migrants in the final draft of NRC still remains uncertain. As NRC is in the last procedure before publishing the final list – Receipt and disposal of Claims and Objection. Millions of Bengali community fears to be stateless. with no country to be deported, they are likely to be sent to detention camps in Assam. Even today many accused civilians are serving indefinite detention.

Shaheen Abdulla is associative creative editor of Maktoob Media and studies journalism in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

Maktoob media doesn’t endorse any content written as an opinion. the views shared  by the author is solemnly their responsibility

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