The NRC along with the controversial citizenship bill is a tool to harass Indian Muslims as well as to divert attention from the real issues of the masses, said Nadeem Khan, a founding member of UAH.
Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — A day after Home Minister Amit Shah told Parliament about the government’s plan to conduct a nationwide-NRC (National Register of Citizenship) exercise, protests started pouring in. A civil rights group, the United Against Hate (UAH), announced on Thursday it would launch a Gandhian non-cooperation movement against the Narendra Modi government’s plan to stretch the NRC, now confined to Assam, to other parts of the country.
“We will run a campaign against the NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). We will hold rallies, programmes and demonstrations. We will not submit our documents, nor will we allow others to do so. We will boycott the NRC exercise, as part of a civil-disobedience movement across the country,” said Nadeem Khan, a founding member of the UAH.
Khan alleged that the NRC along with the controversial citizenship bill is a tool to harass Indian Muslims as well as to divert attention from the real issues of the masses. His group along with prominent social activists would organise a nationwide non-cooperation movement.
The Assam NRC, which left around 2 million people out of the final list, has been facing sharp criticism at national and international levels. Recently, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said, “The NRC is a “targeted mechanism to disenfranchise Assam’s Bengali Muslim community, implicitly establishing a religious requirement for citizenship and potentially rendering large numbers of Muslims stateless.”
Khan admitted that the Assam NRC had a historical backdrop and a geographical base, but the plan to stretch it nationwide was aimed simply at harassing Muslims. “There is a historical backdrop to the Assam NRC. It was welcomed by the people of Assam because the announcement about conducting the NRC was made as early as 1951 when the border of the state touched the borders of Myanmar, East Pakistan and China. That was an issue for Assam. But, what is the need to conduct the NRC exercise, say, in Uttar Pradesh,” asked Khan.
He said the Uttar Pradesh government, under this process, has so far arrested 258 people after branding them illegals. “Why should the government want the entire population to go through the NRC process because of the presence of a few people? NRC means forcing the people to prepare documents by spending thousands rupees. This will force the entire society to live in a permanent state of anxiety,” he said.
Khan expressed his worries over those who don’t have any record of holding land. “Where will they get their documents? Our society is agriculture-oriented and village-based. How will landless farmers come up with land record to prove their citizenship rights?” In Assam, a smaller state accounting for three crore population, officials spent 10 years and Rs 1,300 crore for this exercise. One can imagine how much time and money this process will consume if the NRC is held across the country.
Amit Shah stated in Parliament on Wednesday: “The process of National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be carried out across the country. No one, irrespective of religion, should be worried. This is just a process to get everyone under the NRC.” He said the government would bring in the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill which will grant citizenship to all communities except for Muslim illegals.