IUML comes to the aid of NRC-hit in Assam

Party hopes the legal initiative will help expand its political footprint in the region

KOCHI: As Assam is burning over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has taken the lead to provide legal aid and other support to the affected in the north-eastern State, which, the party hopes, would help expand its political footprint in the region.

Senior party leaders, including P. K. Kunhalikutty and E. T. Mohammad Basheer, MPs, have visited the State a couple of times to coordinate the activities and to lay the foundation for the organisation there.

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The party has constituted the Assam Lawyers Forum, which is spearheading the legal battle. An ad hoc committee of lawyers have been formed. It has networked over 500 lawyers and identified around 15 villages that have been worst hit due to the NRC. Local lawyers have been trained to prefer appeals before the Foreigners Tribunal.

Current focus

Currently, the focus is on providing legal aid and other support for the affected. Help desks have been set up. The party is backing the forum in its activities. The strengthening of the organisation and the formation of party units will be taken up later, said Mr. Kunhalikutty.

Lawyers from Kerala, under the aegis of the Kerala Lawyers Forum (KLF), the legal front of the IUML, is instrumental in helping the Assam lawyers to organise themselves and complete the groundwork for filing appeals. Of the nearly 19.5 lakh persons who are out of the NRC, Muslims would account for around six lakh. Legal aid would be extended to all those who have been thrown out, said Muhammad Shah, State president of the KLF.

The forum would provide free legal aid to around 50% of the affected persons and for the remaining half, support would be offered at a moderate fee. A slab has been fixed for the lawyer’s fee. A meeting of the lawyers and NGOs working in the sector will be convened shortly to address the issue. The cause of the citizens will be taken up in the Supreme Court also, Mr. Shah said.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 10:15:52 AM |

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