NEW DELHI/ GUWAHATI: Top Muslim organizations have expressed deep concern over exclusion of more than 40 lakh people from the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) and urged the Central and state governments to take the humanitarian aspects of the issue very seriously.
The final draft of NRC was published Monday morning, carrying the names of names of 2.89 crore people out of 3.29 crore who had submitted documents for inclusion in the citizens’ list. An overwhelming majority of the 40 lakh excluded people are said to be Bengali-speaking.
The central and state governments have assured that the list is only draft, not final list and the affected people will not be sent to detention centres, they will be given around two months to again apply with proper documents for inclusion in the list. Yet, there is reasonable anxiety both among the affected people and Muslim organizations.
While expressing concern over non-inclusion of above 40 lakh residents in the final draft NRC, Maulana Mahmood Madani, General Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind termed it “a very serious issue that will have deep impact over socio-geographic situation of the country.” Therefore, the central and state governments should not overlook its humanitarian aspects before taking any steps in this matter, he urged.
Maulana Madani further said that Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind is closely watching the development and it will extend every possible help and cooperation to the needy persons and will continue its legal efforts in the Apex Court as well.
He has appealed to the Assamese people to hold their nerve. “There is need to deal the problem with legal measures. Whose names have been missing from NRC should seriously take every necessary action and provide all basic relevant documents,” said Maulana Madani and issued instructions to all Jamiat units in Assam to help them prepare document and other related facts. For this purpose, Jamiat has deputed 1500 persons including lawyers and intellectuals to help the needy persons at district level.
After the final draft of NRC was out on Monday, Maulana Madani had detailed discussion with Jamiat’s state unit leaders like AIUDF chief and MP Maulana Badruddin Ajmal and Hafiz Basheer.
All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, an umbrella body of all main Muslim organizations in the country, has strongly reacted over the exclusion of 40 lakh people from the NRC list.
Mushawarat’s President Navaid Hamid expressed “his dismay and shock over the mischievous attempt to exclude around 40.07 lac Indian citizens from Assam’s National Register of Citizens.”
Hamid has termed the whole exercise “full of faults and fictitious as genuine and valid documents such as Passport and Aadhar Cards are also ignored as proof of citizenship.”
“If it is not a tragedy than what that families of freedom fighters; descendants of those great souls who had worked hard to confront the accession of areas of Assam state to then East Pakistan; families of former Deputy Speaker of Assam State Assembly; family of former Director General of Police and families of those government servants who had worked for the state government for more than three decades and are getting pensions after retirement are among other such familiar cases who find their name excluded in the proposed NRC list,” he asked.
“Unfortunately the only guiding criteria of the officers of NRC officials, it seem, was politics of bigotry and hate to exclude as much as Bengali speaking citizens (overwhelming majority with Muslim names) and a good number of citizens with roots of ancestry in Bihar and the whole exercise is being done not only to create an environment of hate and polarize nation on communal lines but also to create a fear psyche amongst the citizens across nation invoking false bogey of infiltration by Bengali speaking population,” he said.
National president of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari said: “We are deeply concerned with the publication of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. Thus far the NRC has held about 40 lakh people (more than 10% of the state population) of the 3.3 crore applications to be invalid and hence disqualified to be bonafide citizens of India. According to the Assam Accord signed in 1985, anyone who entered the state after 24 March 1971 is considered an illegal resident. For acceptance into the NRC the onus of proof (to prove citizenship) was the responsibility of the applicant. But genuine citizens, who are impoverished and could not maintain proper records because of their homes being exposed to the vagaries of nature, are impacted and now face the brunt of being branded as foreigners. Most of those who could not make it into the NRC were due to minor inaccuracies in their documents.”
Jamaat chief urged the government to “look into complaints regarding NRC officials who exhibited bias and discrimination against a particular linguistic community and did not accept their application despite possessing all legal papers’’.
Rajya Sabha MP and Nationalist Congress Party leader Adv. Majeed Memon tweeted: “If 40 lakh people in one stroke are held as outsiders by Indian Authorities where are they expected to be sent? No country will accept them. Are they to be thrown in Bengal creek? Atrocious.”
In a press statement, he further said: “The decision of the government is illegal, immoral and inhuman. It did not think that where the 40 lakh people who have been living with their families in India for several decades, and many of them are people’s representatives, will go after sudden exclusion from citizens’ list.”
Memon, who is a senior lawyer at Supreme Court, said that fixing a cutout date 50 years behind and declaring the Indian citizens beyond that date illegal is wrong and inhuman. “Opposition parties think that BJP hatched the plan to exclude such a large number of people from the NRC list just for electoral gains because they know these people are not their voters and majority of them are Muslims,” he said.