‘The problem with NRC is people lack documentation’

Journalist, lawyer, student leader dispel myths about the law

Published - December 22, 2019 01:24 am IST - Mumbai

Fact-check: Bilal Zaidi, founder, Our Democracy, talks while panelists (from left) Mihir Desai, Geeta Sheshu and Fahad Ahmed look on at an event on Saturday.

Fact-check: Bilal Zaidi, founder, Our Democracy, talks while panelists (from left) Mihir Desai, Geeta Sheshu and Fahad Ahmed look on at an event on Saturday.

Around 30 people attended a talk on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) on Saturday where human rights lawyer Mihir Desai, journalist Geeta Sheshu and student leader Fahad Ahmed explained the law in detail and answered queries raised by them.

The talk was organised by Our Democracy, a crowdfunding and campaigning platform. Mr. Desai explained the differences between the old Citizenship Act and the CAA stating that the latter violated the Assam Accord as it automatically granted citizenship to non-Muslims who have come into the country before 2014.

Mr. Desai said the Act will also not be applicable to the Sixth Schedule areas, which include certain areas in the northeast that have the power of self governance, and the Inner Line Permit areas of the northeast.

He said the NRC and CAA were bound to be linked with each other and will be carried out in the country with the census for 2021 with the onus of submitting the documents placed on people the government suspected. “The problem with the NRC is that India is a country where most people lack documentation. Aadhaar, passport and ration card will not work. The other major issue is the cost. The NRC procedure in Assam has cost ₹3,000 crore. The government will also have to build detention camps for the people marked out of the NRC,” he said.

Ms. Sheshu, said the National Population Register will be the first step for a nation-wide NRC. “In the upcoming national census, people will have to register their fingerprint on a biometric, which will be further linked with Aadhaar.”

Mr. Desai also said State governments could not refuse the implementation of Central laws but could try to resist their enactment as the groundwork is done by the State government.

According to Mr. Ahmed, it was the ploy of Home Minister Amit Shah to target universities largely occupied by Muslim students as an attempt to instil fear in the community. “We did not protest issues like demonetisation, the economy crashing or even the Ayodhya verdict. But today when the constitution is being killed, we have no option but to be out on the streets to protest,” he said.

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