Other States

NGOs resent judge’s view on citizenship

‘Instant citizenship to migrants would be disastrous for indigenous communities’

NGOs in Meghalaya have resented the plea by a judge of the State’s High Court for granting citizenship to migrants from India’s neighbourhood without any questions asked or production of documents.

Admitting a petition of an Army recruit denied domicile certificate by the Meghalaya government, Justice S.R. Sen had on Monday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre to grant instantaneous citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The Modi government had introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, that seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 and provide citizenship to non-Muslim migrants believed to have been victims of religious persecution in these three countries. Several parties and organisations in the Northeast are against passage of the Bill in Parliament.

The judge also included the Khasis, Jaintias and Garos among those he felt needed unconditional citizenship. A fraction of three principal matrilineal communities of Meghalaya inhabits adjoining areas of Bangladesh.

The Khasi Students’ Union said the idea would be disastrous for the indigenous communities in the Northeast. “The KSU is not against any humanitarian venture by the country, but it feels that prior to the implementation of any international humanitarian act, the humanitarian perspective of the microscopic indigenous communities of Northeast India should be taken into account,” union’s general secretary Donald Thabah said.

He said that even if 3 million of the 14 million Hindus in Bangladesh are granted instant citizenship, they would wipe out the 1 million ethnic Khasis of Meghalaya and other small indigenous groups of the Northeast.

‘Flawed judgment’

Thma U-Rangli Juki, a social NGO, too, said the Citizenship Bill and the Justrice Sen’s “flawed and controversial judgment” needed to be opposed. “The judgement sought to characterise India as a ‘Hindu country’ and outlined a narrow religious and ethnographic-centric view of Indian history, which goes against the fundamental, secular and federal character of the Indian republic,” the NGO’s Angela Rangad said.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 1:20:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ngos-resent-judges-view-on-citizenship/article25736584.ece

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