#NHRC notice to Assam # Citizenship verification #Harassment and humiliation
In the name of citizenship verification harassment and humiliation of the people amounts to violation of right to equality and dignity of the innocent victims, says the rights panel in a statement.
NEW DELHI — The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued a notice to the Government of Assam after taking suo motu cognizance of the allegations reported in the media about the harassment being meted out to the people by the police in the name of verification of their nationality.
“The Commission has observed that it has carefully perused and examined the contents of the news report, carried on the 31st October, 2017. The steps taken to identify the suspect cases of illegal immigration and setting up of Foreigners’ Tribunals is a policy perspective of the government and it would not like to intervene into that matter but the allegations that in the name of verification, the poor people are being subjected to harassment and humiliation is a matter of concern for the Commission, as it amounts to violation of right to equality and dignity of the innocent victims,” says the rights panel in a statement.
Millions of people from different religious communities, mostly Muslims, are facing the threat of being declared nationless as their decades ago proof of Indian citizenship has been declared invalid earlier this year by the Gauhati High Court.
According to the media report, there are detention centres in the State of Assam, where the people, under scanner, are lodged in two categories, Bangladeshis and D-voters. In many cases, once a person is declared an Indian citizen is again served notice by the police. It is further mentioned that at the time of hearing, the subjects are not allowed to wear their shoes and they have to enter barefoot, inside the Court, while the government officers and advocates are exempted.
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“A specific case of one Shri Moinal Molla has been mentioned in the media report. His parents, wife, children, brother and rest of the family are Indians and still his citizenship was rejected by the authorities. He spent more than two years at a detention centre. It was only after the intervention by the Apex Court, the justice was done in his case,” noted NHRC.
Several cases of retired Muslim veterans of Indian armed forces being declared D-voter or illegal immigrant have come to light in recent months. After decades of service in the Indian Army or state Police they had to prove their Indian nationality before Foreigners’ Tribunals.
Besides these cases, millions of people from different religious communities, mostly Muslims, are facing the threat of being declared nationless as one of the documents acknowledged by the state and central governments and political parties decades ago as proof of Indian citizenship, has been declared invalid earlier this year by the Gauhati High Court. At least 27 lakh married women, who were issued such citizenship certificates by the Panchayats in the last three decades, are now facing the issue of nationality.