NRC, NPR will create huge chaos, say lawyers, activists

Forewarning: Senior advocate Mihir Desai at the Mumbai Collective at YB Chavan Centre on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) took the centre stage at the annual Mumbai Collective – Celebrating Freedom and Pluralism – event at YB Chavan Centre in Nariman Point on Saturday with lawyers and activists saying the move by the Central government will create a huge chaos, and that it should be opposed.

Senior advocate Mihir Desai, renowned civil rights lawyer and one who has represented many who have fought for their fundamental rights at the Bombay High Court and the apex court, said, “The NRC and NPR are going to lead to huge chaos and therefore we must oppose it now. Even if tomorrow, the Supreme Court of India upholds the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the NRC and others as being constitutional we should still be out on the streets protesting against them because the custodian of this Constitution is not the SC, but the people of India. We should never give that up.”

‘Against marginalised’

He said, even if there is no CAA, you have NRC and NPR which are still dangerous not because of demarcating Muslims but because the government will act against marginalised people throughout the country. The combination of poor people, women, Dalits, Adivasis with CAA makes it even more lethal.

“That’s why we are opposing all three,” he said and added, “Boycott is a very good method of protest, but it has to be a mass boycott otherwise you will have people being targeted.” He said if 10 out of one lakh people boycott, they will be targeted. Speaking at a session titled ‘Hum Kaagaz Nahin Dikhayenge’, he said, “The boycott has to be mass, and if it is not then we have to rethink our strategies.”

Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty, Deputy Editor, The Wire, who hails from Assam, spoke of NRC and the agitation there. She said it is a fight for identity and added, “Everybody is xenophobic. It’s very important to see why they are and what is the role of it in perpetuity.”

Vickram Crishna, an activist for privacy and protection, spoke on ‘Democracy Offline? On Internet Shutdowns’ and questioned why technology in India is supporting the oppressive and regressive regime in our country. He was one of the petitioners against unique identity (UID) before SC and mentioned that in the U.S., it is illegal to investigate the digital data of a citizen but it isn’t illegal here despite Right to Privacy being a constitutional right.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 9:23:09 AM |

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