Day 62 – Q 2.What are your views on the idea of a nationwide NRC exercise? Will it not flare up communal tensions? Share your views.
2. What are your views on the idea of a nationwide NRC exercise? Will it not flare up communal tensions? Share your views.
एक राष्ट्रव्यापी एनआरसी पर आपके विचार क्या हैं? क्या इससे सांप्रदायिक तनाव नहीं भड़केगा? अपने विचार साझा करें
NRC The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register of Indian citizens and was prepared in 1951, following the census of 1951. At present, only Assam has such a register.
Purpose: To separate “illegal” immigrants and deport them.
Nodal Agency: Registrar General and Census Commissioner India.
Census and National Population Register is counting residents while the proposed NRC will count citizens. Its objective is to weed out non-citizens and deport them to their countries of origin or put them in detention camps.
Views on the idea of a nationwide NRC exercise
- It puts an entire population under suspicion of alienage. Under the foreigners’ Act 1946, the burden of proof rests on the individual charged with being a foreigner. Moreover, Citizenship Act provides no mechanism for identifying aliens. With that justification can a state that does not have the ability to detect aliens or even to secure its borders against illegal immigrants, set out to find aliens by elimination? Elimination method is not the right approach.
- Cost of Authentication: Preparation of a countrywide NRC requires lot of resources. The Assam NRC is reported to have costed Rs 1600 crores. To prepare a countrywide NRC we need an estimated outlay of Rs 4.26 lakh crore. It would also need deployment of 1.33 crore officials when total number of government employees in India was 2.9 crore in 2011-12.
- Lot of time to prepare it: It is a regressive exercise and will take lot of time to prepare it.
- Building new detention centers that will be needed to incarcerate the excluded people.
- Panic among people: The necessary documents required to be included in NRC has created panic and fear in Assam and many committed suicides as they were not having the documents to prove their citizenship even when their ancestors have been living here for hundreds of years. If NRC done at national level it would have graver ramifications.
- Flawed Process – People who found themselves on the first list in Assam NRC, that was released on January 1, 2018, didn’t find their names in the second. Even the family of a former President of India did not mention on the list.
- Since such ‘non citizens’ can resort to judicial relief to substantiate their citizenship claim, it can lead to overburdening of judiciary which already reels under large number of pending cases.
- Federal Imperative of seeking the consent of state governments: Many states in northeast are erupting in protest against NRC. It is a federal issue and requires consultations between states and the centre and it cannot be done on the whims of a particular political party that comes to party.
- With no end to uncertainty, NRC seems to be a process without an end.
Fraying communal tension or plural social fabric of this nation:
If the NRC carves out paths to statelessness for groups that are disfavoured, the citizenship Amendment Bill creates paths to citizenship for preferred groups. The implicit assumption in the NRC is that the infiltrators are Bangladeshis Muslims who must be disenfranchised as they have illegally acquired the citizenship. The citizenship Amendment Bill on the other hand promises citizenship to migrants belonging to all groups except Muslims – who will be eligible for fast-track citizenship because they are persecuted minorities in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. However, it does not offer the same to the victims of sectarian religious persecution in neighbouring countries, such as the Ahmadiyas or the Rohingyas. It is a hypocrisy on part of the state.
India, as a country which follows the ideology of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, should not be hasty in taking decisions that can disenfranchise her citizens – contradicting its centuries-followed values. The Central Government should appoint a National Immigration Commission to frame a National Migration Policy and a National Refugee Policy. The Commission should examine ways of strengthening the Foreigners Act 1946, as well as feasibility of Identity Cards for both citizens and non-citizens and Work Permits for migrants.