Visakhapatnam

Centre must come clear on real purpose of NRC: experts

Muslim Thinkers’ Forum convener A.M. Khan Yazdani being felicitated at a seminar on National Register of Citizens at Andhra University in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.

Muslim Thinkers’ Forum convener A.M. Khan Yazdani being felicitated at a seminar on National Register of Citizens at Andhra University in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.  

Alleging that there appears to be a hidden agenda behind the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, experts at a seminar organised at the Department of Political Science of Andhra University here on Wednesday said that the Centre must come clear on the ‘real purpose’ of the move.

The seminar titled ‘NRC: awareness and concerns’ was organised by the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy of AU, in association with the Muslim Thinkers’ Forum.

Citizenship Amendment Bill

Delivering the keynote address, advocate Jaha Aara said that around 3 crore people in Assam had gone under the hammer of the NRC. More than 19 lakh people have been excluded from the list, of which around 7 lakh are said to be illegal Bangladeshi Muslims while the rest are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh comprising Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists, she said.

“There seems to be a hidden agenda as the government is trying to link the 12 lakh non-Muslims to the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill. The government has termed them as the people who have fled their native country due to religious, political and social persecution and is planning to give them citizenship or long-term visa for 15 to 20 years. If that is the case then even Sri Lankans and Rohingyas should also fall under this category,” said Ms. Jaha Aara.

She explained that during 1971 Bangladesh liberation, about 10 lakh Bengalis had fled their country and settled in Assam and West Bengal, and they were then termed as refugees, not illegal immigrants. “They could be the part of the 19 lakh people that have been left out of the NRC,” said Ms. Jaha Aara.

She pointed out that people should become aware of the Citizenship Act and Foreigners Act and the difference between illegal immigrants, refugees and legal migrants, before taking a point of view on the NRC.

Supreme Court order

The government proposes to put the illegal immigrants in detention camps and as per the Supreme Court order, they should be released after three years. “Once released, they become State-less, which is even more dangerous,” she said.

A.M. Khan Yazdani, senior journalist and a member of Muslim Thinkers Forum, said the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill could be dangerous as it appears as a move towards a totalitarian regime.

“It is time people questioned why the NRC was being mooted,” he said.

Quoting Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy Director P.D. Satyapal said communal majority without a strong opposition in a democracy would lead to a fascist regime.

AU Rector M. Prasada Rao said that be it Assam or West Bengal, the illegal immigrant issue should be viewed from a humanitarian angle. “Settlers cannot be shunted out of the country at gunpoint and at the same time the Centre should take up the problem with Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries at a bilateral level,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 9:45:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/centre-must-come-clear-on-real-purpose-of-nrc-experts/article29719953.ece

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