More than 720 writers, actors and activists have spoken out against both the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the NPR-NRC, calling them “ill-conceived.”
In a statement signed by Justices P.B. Sawant (SC retd.), Hosbet Suresh (Bombay HC retd.) and B.G. Kolse Patil (ex-Bombay HC), and Javed Akhtar, Harsh Mander, Aparna Sen and Swami Agnivesh, among others, the group said: “We must unequivocally reject CAB 2019 and at the same time in the same breath, NPR/NRC.”
The statement noted that citizenship in India is based on the non-negotiable principles of equality and non-discrimination while CAB (2019) singles out Muslims for exclusion.
“For the first time there is a statutory attempt to not just privilege peoples from some faiths but at the same time relegate another, Muslims, to second-rate status,” noted the group.
It said CAB, 2019 is at odds with Constitutional secular principles and a violation of Articles 13, 14, 15, 16 and 21 which guarantee the right to equality, equality before the law and non-discriminatory treatment by the Indian state.
“...Through the process of enlisting for National Population Register (NPR) and thereafter a National Register of Citizens (NRC), the present government appears intent on causing huge upheavals within Indian society.” the statement said.
“Assam has, especially since 2013, been reeling under the impact of this ill-conceived exercise. Apart from the huge material costs, the human costs have been immeasurable. Death, families torn apart; detention camps and foreigners’ tribunals; fear, the spectre of statelessness – this is what the ordinary people, especially minorities, Dalits, women, children and the poor have had to suffer and continue to suffer. The worst impacted are women and children,” said the group.