Karnataka

NRC is anti-poor and dehumanises an out-group, say former IAS officers

Former IAS officers Sasikanth Senthil and Kannan Gopinathan at a talk on democracy in Bengaluru on Sunday.

Former IAS officers Sasikanth Senthil and Kannan Gopinathan at a talk on democracy in Bengaluru on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Kannan Gopinathan said that it was the government’s responsibility to identify illegal immigrants

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Bill not only pose a big challenge to democracy and the country’s social fabric, but are also anti-poor and a way of shirking responsibility by the government, according to Kannan Gopinathan and Sasikanth Senthil, former IAS officers who recently quit in protest against the actions of the Union government.

They were speaking at a talk on ‘Challenges to Democracy: NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill’, organised by a coalition of progressive organisations in the city on Sunday. Mr. Gopinathan said that it was the government’s responsibility to identify illegal immigrants. “But it has transferred this to the entire populace through NRC, just as it did with demonetisation to weed out black money,” he said.

Recounting the Assam experience, he said it is the poor, landless labourers, homeless, migrants and predominantly women who have no documents and will be at the receiving end of NRC damage. “Citizens will become refugees for want of documents, and the government will be charitable to only non-Muslims. The Muslims will become infiltrators. This is a violation of our fundamental rights,” he said, adding that “what is essentially anti-poor is being marketed as anti-Muslim”. “None of us needs to prove that we are Indians to this government, our being should be enough proof,” he said. “We are being punished for their [government’s] mistake.”

Mr. Senthil saw a larger design in NRC, terming it a project to “dehumanise the out-group”. “What we are seeing today is fascism and most of the moves of this government are from the fascist playbook,” he said. “Fascism is defined around a leader, conjures up a glorious mythical past and seeks to go back to it with a hyper-nationalist call. It always creates an out-group, an enemy of the order — all of which have now happened in India. In Germany, Jews were marked with yellow stars in an attempt to dehumanise them. NRC does something very similar, evident in the language used — infiltrators, termites,” he said. He said dehumanising an out-group will create public sanction to “deal with them”.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 12:08:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/nrc-is-anti-poor-and-dehumanises-an-out-group-say-former-ias-officers/article30131566.ece

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