The Final NRC published today has excluded a whopping 19.06 lakh persons in Assam. The NRC process had shifted the burden of proof of citizenship on to the entire population of Assam, with people undergoing deep travails over the past four years to get their names included. In a poor country like ours and in a state which witnesses frequent floods, it is not unnatural that lakhs of people were unable to produce documents to prove that they or their ancestors were inhabitants of Assam before 24th March 1971. To rob people of their citizenship and rendering them stateless on the basis of this flawed process would be a gross violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
Guest post by PARESH HATE
From what knowledge we have so far, it seems clear that the issue of citizenship and migration in South Asia is not any less complicated or politically charged than in Global North. Assam Accord and National Registry of Citizenship were already polarizing individuals across the political spectrum. The demonisation of Bangladeshi immigrants continues throughout the country. But the entering of BJP in Assam politics has complicated the matter even further. Beyond the stories of deportation and violence at the border between India and Bangladesh, now we are also witnessing a rise of detention centres all over India which has put the lives of many migrants effectively into a state of limbo where they are designated for deportation but do not know when they will meet this fate.
- Kerala is the land of my birth, and my life is intertwined closely and inseparably with the lives of all fellow-Malayalis. I will respect and remember this truth and will never think of my life as totally unrelated to nature, my neighbours, and the government that we elect to rule us.
[Before you read this post, you might want to read KR Meera’s brilliant portrait of the average Malayali middle-class Sangh supporter, in her story Sanghiannan, which I translated as ‘My Brother Sanghi’, published by Juggernaut at : https://www.juggernaut.in/books/088d472b19d745d29492560654250e15 . I recommend this also because she sketches beautifully the spirit of deep compassion that inheres in the thought of Sreenarayana Guru, who tried to imagine the faith outside the brahmanical framework of caste. This will help you to get a sense of that section of Malayali middle class I address here.]
Guest post by Nabanipa Bhattacharjee
On 13 September 2017 the Union Home Ministry, following the 2015 order of the Supreme Court, decided to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees. Victims of religious persecution in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, the predominantly Buddhist Chakmas and Hindu Hajongs began immigrating to the north eastern region of India 1960s onwards. The then central government, eventually, moved a large number of these refugees to Arunachal Pradesh; while Arunachal Pradesh is their zone of concentration, a considerable number of Chakmas and Hajongs live in Mizoram and Meghalaya too. The decision of the Home Ministry, however, did not go down well with the indigenous tribal population of Arunachal Pradesh; the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union protested against the move citing threats to life and livelihood of the native inhabitants of the state. On 14 September 2017 the Union government assured the protesters that a middle-ground – between honouring the law and commitment towards protecting the rights of the people of Arunachal Pradesh – would be found.