Home Minister Amit Shah | File photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Home Minister Amit Shah | File photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that Home Minister Amit Shah presented in Lok Sabha Monday is not just about granting citizenship to non-Muslim illegal migrants from neighbouring countries and driving out Muslim “ghuspetis (intruders)”. The ultimate intent is to implement a nationwide-National Register of Citizens. The Citizenship Bill, once passed, will help protect non-Muslims and harass Muslim citizens when they line up all over India with their paperwork.

So, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill should not be read in isolation. It should be read with the BJP government’s intention to implement a nationwide-NRC and the National Population Register (NPR).

A nationwide NRC under The Citizenship (Registration and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003 will be called National Register of India Citizens (NRIC). According to the Ministry of Home Affairs Gazette notification on 31 July 2019, in the task to prepare and update the population register, there will be house-to-house enumeration throughout India, except Assam, for collection of information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of a local registrar. The exercise will be undertaken between 1 April to 30 September 2020.

The five-year-long rigorous NRC process in Assam stripped the dignity of religious and linguistic minorities. There is nothing more humiliating than to be asked to prove your citizenship in your own country. Scores of people have committed suicide in fear of losing citizenship, most are running around for documents, and multiple hearings have caused losses. The state is divided like never before on religious lines.


Also read: Without a pan-India NRC, Modi-Shah know Citizenship Bill is nothing but symbolism 


A careful lie

The ominous presence of a supposedly large number of Muslim illegal migrants all over India is now part of political rhetoric. It is not backed by any empirical data. Assam is the only state where the NRC exercise was carried out to find the exact number of illegal migrants. Over the years, politicians threw about numbers that ranged from 1 crore to 50 lakh. Even then, the final NRC list excluded 19 lakh people, and it soon became apparent that most of them are also Indian citizens. The list included parents but left out their children causing untold trauma and blowing the lid on propaganda. The exercise left it to the Foreigners’ Tribunals to determine the citizenship of excluded people.

Unhappy with the outcome of the Supreme Court-monitored NRC in Assam, Amit Shah said on the floor of Parliament that another round of NRC will be carried out in Assam along with the nationwide-NRC. The Assam NRC had busted the myth of illegal migration and excluded less Muslims than the BJP had wished for. And Hindus got excluded too. They don’t want to repeat the Assam exercise.

The next time the government conducts the NRC – in Assam and across India – it wants to make sure that non-Muslims are protected and more and more Muslims are excluded.

Over 1.3 crore people were marked as OI or original inhabitants. in the Assam NRC as per sub-clause (3) of clause 3 of the Schedule to the Citizenship Rules, 2003. They didn’t go through any verification, even if they didn’t submit required documents, they were included in the NRC only because the registering authority was satisfied that citizenship of such person is ascertained beyond reasonable doubt. Although this provision won’t apply to the nationwide-NRC, the CAB will not be very different from this provision and the registering authority will presume that as all non-Muslim illegal migrants have been made citizens. Citizenship of non-Muslims will not be doubted this time. Their citizenship will be beyond reasonable doubt. The only community that will be subjected to all sorts of verification and scrutiny will be the Muslim.


Also read: As India becomes de facto Hindu Rashtra, BJP looks for new ways to polarise voters


Hearings, more hearings

The Citizenship Rules, 2003 under which the nationwide-NRC and NPR will be implemented, gives discretionary power to the registering authority to doubt anyone’s citizenship and call them for several rounds of hearing and verification. The Citizenship Rules, 2003 also allows any person to file objection against anyone whose names will be included in the draft NRC.

In Assam, 1.87 lakhs objections were filed by All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and 30 other organisations mostly against Muslims. They didn’t spare the young, the old, the ailing and even the son of a freedom fighter.

In a nationwide-NRC, this provision will be a tool in the hand of some organisations and individuals to target Muslims and marginalised communities, and file random objection against them. There will be more hearings and harassment.

Even if a person succeeds the test of objection, any person aggrieved by such order may file another appeal within 30 days. Again, there will be another round of verification. Only if this round of appeal is dismissed, the names of such person will be included in the NRIC.

In an attempt to prove citizenship, Muslims will have to go through this rigorous process, which will take a huge toll on their productivity, financial condition, physical and mental health. In every state, Muslims are running around for papers, masjid committees and civil society organisations are mostly concentrating on the NRC. An environment of fear has been created in the name of nationwide-NRC.


Also read: Why CAB-plus-NRC fantasy is BJP’s next Ram Mandir-plus-Article 370 gambit


‘Termites’ vs economy

Despite the fact that there is no data to back illegal migration, a narrative is being created that there are lakhs of illegal migrants in India and they are eating the country like ‘termites’, to borrow from Amit Shah.

There is also no evidence to prove the threat to national security from illegal migrants. This is exactly what happened over the years in Assam’s politics.

In a recent election rally in Jharkhand, the term “ghuspeti”, once again, dominated Amit Shah’s speech.

He also spoke about the NRC in Haryana election campaigns, and relentlessly talked about the NRC and national security in West Bengal. The signs are ominous.

After Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 was lifted and the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya was granted by the Supreme Court, the BJP needs a new issue to polarise India. A nationwide-NRC, after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be useful to distract people from a failing economy and development promises.

The author is a lawyer at Gauhati High Court and is helping many who are struggling in Assam’s detention centres. Views are personal.

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50 Comments Share Your Views

50 COMMENTS

  1. On the one hand we see articles daily that muslims in India are in danger and on the other hand, we see reports like this which wants muslims from other countries to be allowed into India. Is it only me (or) others also see the hypocrisy, lies and deceit in the report.

  2. This article shows herd mentality. I am unable to see the logic of this writer. If Indian citizenship is denied to the Muslims of other countries, how does it amount to harassment of Indian Muslims. Are we going to give rights under our constitution to foreigners also?

  3. Why so much hatred! Someone above pointed out rising muslim population in kerala. Im a Keralite and a Christian. In a state where both hindus and muslims exist happily why incite hatred!! Hindus have always welcomed people of other religion be it christians jews etc why so much hatred towards muslims. Muslims who didnt leave for pakistan are kinda patriots ( atleast most of them are ). Stop hatred nd fear run our lives . We are better than this

  4. Jinnah wanted a separate homeland for Muslims because he knew, what you know today, that the rights of Muslims were of no consequence to the Hindu political elite, that Muslims would always be second class citizens in India. His fight was for the rights of Muslims,not w/ Hinduism

  5. “It is not backed by any empirical data.” – Seriously?
    The following information from the Census of India records pertaining to Assam –
    As per the 2011 census, the total population of Assam was 31,169,272. The total population of the state has increased from 26,638,407 to 31,169,272 in the last ten years with a growth rate of 16.93%.
    Of the 33 districts, eight districts registered a rise in the decadal population growth rate. Religious minority-dominated districts like Dhubri, Goalpara, Barpeta, Morigaon, Nagaon, and Hailakandi, recorded growth rates ranging from 20 per cent to 24 per cent during the last decade. Eastern Assamese districts, including Sivasagar and Jorhat, registered around 9 per cent population growth. These districts do not have any international border.
    How does the author account for the above? Is there any possible explanation for this weird phenomenon other than massive illegal immigration across the India-Bangladesh border?

  6. You already asked for a separate homeland and got it – Pakistan. How can u ask for one more? go to pakistan, or we kick you out

  7. What about Hindus being butchered in Sri Lanka? Or does Amit Shah and Modi not consider Tamils as Hindus at all? Maybe they are right – only Gujarati banias, Marathi brahmins and UP thakurs are Hindus in this country – the rest are all mlechha…

  8. The best solution would be for India to redefine what ‘minority’ means.
    Any religion with less than 20% of the population shouldn’t count as a minority. FULL STOP.

  9. Came across an interesting statistic today. The percentage of Hindus in Pakistan as per the 1951 Census was 1.6. It is slowly climbing back, should touch 2.0 soon. That does not square with the proposition that Hindus are being persecuted, slowly driven out, need sanctuary in India. We read about old Hindu temples being restored. Symbolic, perhaps, with a bit of international PR thrown in, but still moving in the right direction.

  10. India must be the land to protect Hindus and must ensure continuation of the indian civilization for the future. Hindus do not want to become a minority in their own land and get finished off. For too long Hindus have lived like and continue to live like second class citizens in India, splintered by political interests and with no control on their own places of worship.

      • dude ….RSS PEOPLE R MOSTLY DOCOTORS ENGINNERS CA AND OTHER HIGHLY EDUCATED PEOPLE …UNLIKE MUSLIM LEGUE PEOPLE AND JIHADIS WHO R MOSTLY UNEDUCATED

      • You Muslims have already divided and taken apart a major chunk of the country .You voted for the Muslim League to divide India yet you shameless people are living and eating out the Indian nation on a daily basis.

        • It was Savakar who first mooted the ideology of separation of Hindu and Muslims. Get the History right. Jinnah did not even know how to say Namaz or speak properly an Indian language. He was an anglicised barrister practicing in London, when Savakar preached hate in India.
          When he arrived into politics he was secular, read his early writings and had a vision of an Independent United INDIA.
          The idea of Pakistan was a reaction to Savakar and the RSS.
          The RSS preached an ideology of hatred for the Muslim and Gandhi and had an idea of a Hindu Rashtra with Muslim as second class citizens.
          You only have to read the writings of Savakar and Jinnah in the early 1920 to discover this fact.
          The RSS then wanted also to perpetuate the caste system in their vision of Akhand Bharat.

          • Lies of left liberals, and muslims who likes to distort history for their profit. It was Syed who first floated the idea of sperate lands for muslim in 1890s when Sawarkar was merely 2 years old. In fact Sawarkar or hindu mahasabha was totally against partition of India.
            After Jinna’s direct action when Hindus were massacared by muslim with the support of british and Gandhi and Nehru who always sided with Muslim seperated the land on the basis of religion. Gandhi who said this land will only be divided on my dead body. Patriotic Godse than killed Gandhi, to fulfil his wish.

        • Savakar wanted a Hindi Rashtra with Muslims as second class citizens. The RSS ideology was hate and they taught a distorted version Of history where Hindus were treated badly by Muslims . Savakar and his group admired Hitler who rose to power on the hatred for the Jews. The RSS got the vote by preaching hatred and fear for Muslims pre partition.
          It was fear of RSS that caused Jinnah to change his mind and wish for a homeland for Muslims.
          You must remember the RSS organised communal riots with thousand of dead all over India pre partition.
          Gandhi travelled all over India bringing communal harmony, he even fasted to stop these riots.
          The RSS hated Gandhi for this they murdered him.
          IT IS IMPORTANT TO STUDY PRE PARTITION HISTORY TO UNDERSTAND WHATS HAPPENING TODAY

  11. Along with NRC laws must be enacted to punish those who produce more than two children in order to control abnormal growth in Muslim population. In Kerala – for example – Muslims formed 22% of population as per 1981 Census; now they are 28%. Last year 54% Hindus contributed 42% of all births in the State whereas 28% Muslims contributed 44%!

    • That is the crux, not only India but all other countries where Muslims are in a minority. Rather than patiently wait — just a few decades at the most — for the inevitable and become majority, still some Muslim groups want Jihad.

    • Mr Mandal go find some Muslim to lynch or go protect a cow, or find a romantic couple to bully in a park.
      You are an example of another RSS/Modi Bhakt with his head in his back side.
      It’s unemployment and a sub standard education that makes you RSS guys.
      It’s a pity that millions of you are being churned out, like from some dystopian RSS clone factory.
      I much rather have cultured Muslims any day, then these guys populating our land

  12. Pakistan harrasses and victimises all non-Sunni residents. Women for the minorities are converted and forced into marriage with Muslims. Nobody has a problem with that. But they’re shedding crocodile tears for those in J&K 😲
    The ISIS raped and killed thousands of minorities and kept their women as sex slaves. Nobody has a problem with that.
    Christians are wantonly killed by the Muslim majority in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and several countries in Africa. For the ‘ummah’, that is okay.
    The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that Home Minister Amit Shah presented in the Lok Sabha hopes to prevent such a situation in India. Otherwise the country could be swamped by illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Myanmar and even Pakistan – potential jihadis.

  13. As a Muslim all attempts to de franchise us will be met with resistance.
    In such circumstances India’s 180 million Muslims will fight for a second partition a separate homeland.
    We will not live like second class citizens in our own country.
    The RSS be warned just as you split INDIA with the separation ideology perched By Savakar from the 1920s, you will be responsible for splitting INDIA again.
    The RSS instigated most of the communal riots pre partition, Savakar boasts about it in his writings.
    The RSS created an atmosphere of hatred, Jinnah who was a secular person, eventually demanded a separate Pakistan.
    This will be clear to anyone who reads the history of India on the three decades leading up to partition and studies the writings of Savakar during this period. British police reports in the INDIA Office archive in London show how the RSS instigated communal riots pre partition. Including the riots of Jummu where 200,000 people died. The attempt was to ethically cleanse the Muslims out of Jummu and other parts of the country.
    Hatred for the Muslim is the foundation of the RSS ideology right from the outset, again I refer you to the writings of Savakar.
    These RSS people are playing a very old game, that is why a study of history is important.
    India is heading towards a civil war.

    • Finally Muslims are beginning to realise, that nobody will help them but themselves.
      We have to prepare ourselves for the struggle ahead and the sacrifice in blood we will have to make for the dignity of our families and the protection of our mosques.
      I pray to Allah that we emerge victorious without death in this grim struggle for our rights as equal citizens or separate homeland.

        • Vader
          The time will come when Bhagwa and RSS will get the Kalashnikov up their bxck hole.
          We will see how you khaki pants run.
          So far it’s been a game for you guys, a dangerous game.
          Guys like you are anti national and will destroy India just as Savakar did 73 years ago.
          As for Muslims we will live in India our country.
          Be careful we don’t bury you.

      • I always thought that the status of Muslims is because of the quality, or rather the lack of it, of their leaders. But reading comments above makes it quite clear that Muslims get the leadership that they deserve.

    • Ha ha ha, the era of congress is over and no more British to divide this land. U have got Porkistan and all the muslims are free to move. It 180 million muslims will fight for seperate land than 1 billion hindus, sikhs, and other will not be sitting idle.

      • Don’t include Sikhs in this and Christians.
        In the Delhi riots many RSS members participated in killing Sikhs.
        Sikhs are firmly with Muslims and other minorities.

        • And many sikhs killed many Hindus in haryana and punjab. And other sikhs killed those sikhs for making an arms bunker of the holiest site of their faith.
          Do not lump all sikhs with the likes of you.

  14. The article is communal in nature, reality is ,in all the three countries the minorities have been prosecuted and the subject minorities were part of India until partition and its the duty of India to accommodate and protect them . Yes Hinduism needs to be protected, nothing wrong in that! why is it against Islam? its beyond imagination and belief! why and what were the likes of the author doing when minorities were reduced drastically in these countries?

    • India is a secular country. It should not only protect non Muslim minorities but also muslims persecuted in Myanmar(Rohingya). With CAB bill India is going against it’s own fundamental existential foundation that it IS A COUNTRY FOR INDIAN’S and not for or against any particular religious group. The same people who oppose partition act as if they support partition at the same time. This is absolute hypocrisy.

      • There are more than 50 Islamic nations on earth. Rohingyas can go to any of these nations. Why would they wish to settle down in India?
        Today you are batting for the Rohingyas. Tomorrow you would bat for Uighurs and Syrians. There will be no end to it.

      • Few some idiots and fox are mentioning here that why should infiltrator should be allowed and supporting to Hindus and other religion infiltrator (other religion means negligible) ., actually they are rioters, Hindu extremist who are enjoying in Foreign countrie including Gulf countries, working in MNCs and stomach is full and thus mind is occupied with haters against Muslim.
        They are fingering to neighbouring nations for harrasing but not peeping in their color that how they killed and keep harrising Muslims iand other minority in India whether this is Babri masjid demolishing, 1984 riots, Bhagalpur, Gujarat, muzzafarpur, and uncountable many organized roits, moblynching, rape , killing etc….

        These extremist are dangerous than a known terrorist.

        • Learn English or type in whatever language you’re comfortable in. Don’t simply write wrong English and confuse us. Islamic people are the most uneducated of the lot coz they are busy marrying and having as many kids as possible, especially the indian sub-continent. They need to reform in order to fit into the modern world otherwise situation will not change.
          Just like Nazism, the Islamic vision is a caliphate, a society ruled by sharia law, in which women who have sex before marriage are stoned to death, homsexuals are beaten and apostates like brave Hirsi Ali are killed. Sharia law is as inmicical to liberal democracy as Nazism. Violence is inherent is Islam, it’s a destructive , nihilistic cult of death. It legitimates murder. And most of all they give priority to after life over this life.

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