The NRC exercise in Assam: What is BJP's game plan?
The ruling BJP government in India wishes to pave way for religion as a basis for grant of citizenship-- completely contradictory to the Constitutional order of the country.
Aug 2, 2018
By Dr. Omprakash Mishra
The ruling BJP government in India wishes to pave way for religion as a basis for grant of citizenship-- completely contradictory to the Constitutional order of the country. While the draft NRC excludes 40 lakh people irrespective of their religion, BJP government proposes to introduce amendments to Citizenship Act to allow for grant of citizenship based on religious identity of "illegal immigrants". Such an artificial distinction would not meet judicial scrutiny, besides stiff resistance of political parties, both inside and outside Parliament.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise is sought to be used as a substitute for the identification, detention and deportation of illegal immigrants. This set of activity is within the administrative powers of the government and action in this regard has been completely lacking and whenever attempted has largely failed to pass the test of legality.
Also, the NRC exercise has displayed extreme insensitivity in exclusion process, largely based on linguistic consideration, and as such is designed against Bengali speaking populace of Assam. This would also be resisted.
The BJP leadership may note the provisions of Foreigners Act. The Act militates against identification of foreigners based on religious or linguistic basis.
The crude attempt by the BJP government to enforce its design to divide people on the basis of artificial markers is sure going to backfire, in the short run by the political parties and the people and in the long term both by the judicial processes as well as the imperative of humanitarian considerations.
(Prof Omprakash Mishra can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)