The country today stands at the brink of catastrophic human suffering and injustice, if the government implements, nation-wide, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), as announced by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Combined with the Citizenship Amendment Bill — assuring citizenship to all undocumented persons except those of Muslim faith — it risks tearing the country apart, reopening the wounds of Partition, and ultimately destroying India’s secular democratic Constitution.
For six years, the people of Assam were compelled to scramble for documents of land ownership, birth, schooling and voters’ lists to establish that their parents and they were citizens of this country. Too much was at stake. If they failed, they ran the risk of being lodged for years in detention centres carved out of jails, separated from their families, and threatened with deportation. Impoverished people in desperation sold all their belongings to engage expensive lawyers, and weathered often hostile or corrupt officials. Some despaired and killed themselves. Read More