U.S. religious commission concerned about “potential abuse” of NRC

Photo: Twitter/@NRCupdateAssam

Photo: Twitter/@NRCupdateAssam  

Process could be used to “render stateless” Muslim communities , it says

A U.S. federal government bipartisan commission that looks into matters of international religious freedom has said it is concerned about the finalisation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chairman Tony Perkins and one of its commissioners Anurima Bhargava said the process to finalise the NRC by August 31 could undermine religious freedom for vulnerable minorities and potentially be used to “render stateless” Muslim communities in the northeast.

“Freedom of religion or belief for India’s diverse faith communities and respect for religious pluralism have long been a bedrock of Indian society, values enshrined in the constitution. However, we remain concerned with the potential abuse of the National Register of Citizens in Assam and the resulting introduction of a religious requirement for citizenship, which are contrary to the ideals of religious freedom in India,” Mr. Perkins said as per the statement.

“We remain troubled by any government policies or actions that have the effect, whether intentional or not, of undermining religious freedom for vulnerable religious minorities. The National Register of Citizens verification process must not become a means to target and render stateless the Muslim community in northeastern India,” Ms. Bhargava said.

“Proposed policies that suggest that Muslims — and Muslims alone — will face a higher burden for verification, along with worrisome rhetoric, create a negative and potentially dangerous climate for the Muslim community in northeastern India.”

A USICRF press release also made reference to a June 2018 letter written by four U.N. special rapporteurs to then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, expressing concern that the NRC process could potentially disenfranchise the region’s Muslims.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 5:44:51 PM |

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