Tuesday, January 26, 2021

More BJP-Led States To Weed-Out Illegal Immigrants Via ‘Contentious’ Citizenship Policy

Already when the implementation of NRC in Assam has sparked major controversies, two more Indian states are set to implement citizen’s register in order to flush out the illegal immigrants. After Assam, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are all set to adopt this highly controversial method of recognising the legal inhabitants of the state.

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NRC Assam

The National Register of Citizens, or NRC, is the list of Indian citizens in Assam. It is being updated to weed out illegal immigration from Bangladesh and neighbouring regions. The process of NRC update was taken up in Assam as per a Supreme Court order in 2013. In order to wean out cases of illegal migration from Bangladesh and other adjoining areas, NRC updation was carried out under The Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord.

Haryana Will Soon Have NRC: Chief Minister

Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of Haryana has announced that the state will soon have a fast-tracked process of issuing family identity cards and the same will also be used for the application of NRC in the state. This move is being seen as a ploy to appease voters as the state goes into elections later this year.

Currently, the registration of citizens in Assam is being monitored by the Supreme Court and around 1.9 million residents have been identified without any legal documents to prove their citizenship.

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The CM of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath has also hinted at the adoption of NRC to oust illegal migrants from the state. He stated that there will be a phase-wise implementation of the NRC in the state of Uttar Pradesh as and when the need arises. Adityanath further added that an exercise like the implementation of the NRC is vital for national security.

Opposition parties have united to put up a solid front against the BJP for imposing NRC in states governed by it. Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister has however made it very clear that no illegal migrant must stay back in the country. The BJP maintains a strong narrative of national security in its defence of the National Register of Citizens.

Criticism

Many human rights activists fear that the NRC could strip citizenship from many innocent people, especially Muslims, who have lived in the region for decades.

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“Assam has long sought to preserve its ethnic identity, but rendering millions of people stateless is not the answer,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch. “Indian authorities need to move swiftly to ensure the rights of Muslims and other vulnerable communities in Assam are protected from statelessness,” she said in a statement.

The UNHCR also appealed to the Indian government not to deport those who fail to qualify for citizenship, even after claims and appeals are exhausted.

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