People will Lose Trust in Govt: Activists Slam Centre for Changing Stand on NRC in SC

Date:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI—The Union Government Tuesday defended its position on CAA in the Supreme Court and declared that conducting nationwide citizenship test (NRC) is necessary to identify citizens and non-citizens even as Prime Minister Modi said the NRC is not on plate in December.

Subsequently, Home Minster Amit Shah reassured the parliament of ‘no NRC’ despite his contrary claims in TV interviews and rallies.

The government’s filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, in the case that challenges the constitutionality of the CAA and NRC, claiming that the NRC is a necessary exercise for any sovereign country for mere identification of citizens from non-citizens.

“As per the existing statutory regime, there are three classes of persons residing in India – Citizens, Illegal migrants and foreigners on valid visas. It is therefore, the responsibility entrusted on the Central Government, on a combined reading of the Foreigners Act, The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the 1955 Act to identify/detect illegal migrants and thereafter, follow the due process of law,” the affidavit said.

It cited the example of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan where residents possess citizenship cards to defend its position on nationwide NRC exercise.

The latest shift in position on the controversial issue of the NRC that has triggered nationwide protests has sparked anger among protestors and activists who are at the forefront of public opposition to the CAA and NRC.

Speaking to Clarion India, Delhi based civil society activists Harsh Mander said that it is unfortunate that the way government is behaving on the sensitive issue like CAA-NRC which can affect the citizenship of people. “I don’t know how common people will trust a government that is frequently changing its position.”

The CAA is a new law on citizenship which speeds up naturalization of non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Critics and protestors say that it goes against the secular principles of Indian Constitution. But the government in the affidavit, claimed that it was doing so in order to give citizenship to the persecuted minorities of the neighboring countries. However, the CAA excluded Sri Lanka and Myanmar where Tamils and Rohingya Muslims respectively are facing ethnic cleansing.

While government backed its stand citing secular traditions of India as a reason for bringing in CAA saying “actually a reinstatement of Indian ideals of secularism, equality and fraternity, it said, the Act “is not meant to be an omnibus solution to issues across the world and the Indian Parliament cannot be expected to take note of possible persecutions that may be taking place across various countries in the world.”

The affidavit claimed that the selection of theocratic states with a state religion is a reasonable and rational classification and therefore, does not violate the Article 14.

However, Mander said that the lack of clarity on part of government on CAA and NRC is further deepening the fears of people.

“The reasoning given by the government in the affidavit on CAA and NRC contradict the constitutional values and framework,” Mander said. “The reasoning doesn’t make sense.”

Muslim leader Dr Manzoor Alam echoed similar views. “The position of the government on CAA and NRC goes against the letter and spirit of the constitution.”

“The government says one thing in parliament and in action contradicts itself,” said, Dr Alam. “The dignity and supremacy of the constitution has no value before the government and it is really saddening to see constitution being desecrated.”

The government’s shift in position also betrays the mandate of the people, he said.

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