- RIGHT-WING FORCES USING CITIZENSHIP ISSUE TO DESTROY COMMUNAL PEACE OF ASSAM, WARN EMINENT CITIZENS
- FUTURE OF 27 LAKH WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN DECLARED ‘ILLEGAL’ OVERNIGHT
NEW DELHI — There seems to be a conspiracy in delaying the completion of the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) in Assam as some forces are creating a riot-like situation in the northeastern state, said eminent Assamese intellectuals from different religious backgrounds while addressing the national media here on Monday.
While lakhs of people were already facing the status of D-voter and illegal immigrant for decades, millions of married women have been rendered illegal overnight as a particular citizenship certificate, which was acknowledged by all political parties and state and central governments, was declared invalid by the Guwahati High Court in February this year. Intellectuals, academicians and lawyers urged the national media to highlight the plight of the women and gravity of the situation in Assam.
They demanded in one voice that on the basis of 1971 cut-off date, the NCR must be completed immediately and panchayat certificate, one of the 16 documents acknowledged by the government and parties as proof of citizenship, be restored.
Those who addressed the press included Prof. Hiren Gohain, Prof. Apurba Baruah, Manjeet Mohanta, Haider Hussain and Hafiz Rasheed Ahmad Chaudhary. Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind President Maulana Arshad Madani also spoke on the occasion.
Prof Hiren Gohain, former faculty of Guwahati University said: “The question of citizenship is a serious issue. There is conspiracy to delay the whole process of the NRC. I am proud to say that communal riot has not been part of our Assamese tradition. But if not resolved properly, the citizenship issue may become a flashpoint. Some 27 lakh women have been declared illegal as their certificate issued by village panchayat has been declared invalid. This has created unrest among people.”
When asked if he and his team would like to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue, leading critic of Assamese literature said: “No question of meeting with PM as the issue is pending in the SC. Preparation of the NRC is being monitored by SC.”
Prof Apurba Baruah expressed apprehension that some forces are trying to create a riot-like situation in Assam.
“We should not see the case from a religious angle. We are here to raise the issue of the Idea of India, which is at stake. Some political forces are trying to create a problem in the process of updating of NRC. This issue must concern all citizens of India. All those who came before 1971 must be included in the NRC. The media should highlight the plight of the people of Assam, otherwise a part of the country will be in great trouble. Some forces are trying to create riot-like situation in Assam.”
Conspiracy to Create Myanmar-like Situation: Jamiat Chief
Speaking on the occasion, Maulana Arshad Madani, whose Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has been fighting the case in the Supreme Court along with some other groups, expressed deep concern on the situation in Assam saying there is a conspiracy to turn Assam into a Myanmar.
All political parties and the state and central governments had signed the Assam Accord in 1985 and agreed upon March 1971 as cut-off date for citizenship in the state. However, the issue has lingered on even as successive governments came and went one after another. Since the BJP came to power, one of the certificates of citizenship was declared invalid rendering lakhs of married women and their children illegal, said Maulana Madani.
“To exclude people from the NRC, they are raising the issue of village certificate. These women will become stateless and will have no voting rights. Their children cannot take admission in school. Eventually, they will be second or third class citizens or maybe pushed out the country,” he said.
Going ahead, he drew a comparison with Rohingyas in Myanmar.
“They (communal forces) want to create a Myanmar in India. There are just 5-7 lakh people facing the crisis in Myanmar, but here in Assam, there are 75 lakh people (27 lakh women and their children). It has never happened in the history of the world that 75 lakh citizens of a country were declared illegal and pushed out of the country. This is a very serious issue,” he said.
“We demand the state and central governments to complete NRC as early as possible on the basis of humanity not religion. These people have been living there for 200-400 years. If the NRC is correctly completed, there will be no issue at all. We all are of the view that this issue should not be resolved on the basis of religion. Otherwise this will lead to devastation of peace and will bring disrepute to the country,” warned Maulana Madani.