THE final list of the National Register of Citizens in Assam has been published. Reportedly, more than 19 lakh persons (19,06,657 persons to be exact) stand excluded from the list. We are deeply concerned about the scale of the potential humanitarian crisis represented by the exclusion of such large numbers of people. Those excluded have to apply to the Foreigners Tribunals within 120 days.
While the Assam Government has said it will extend legal help, and civil society groups too are organising legal and paralegal help, the fact remains that most of the excluded people are going to find this process extremely difficult. We therefore appeal to Left activists and justice-loving citizens to come forward to volunteer their resources, help and support and stand by the excluded people as they face the Foreigners Tribunals and courts and seek justice.
What is of greatest concern is that neither the State nor the Central Government has any roadmap for the nearly 2 million people facing the prospect of statelessness. Pending the process of FT hearings, those excluded from the NRC final list must enjoy full citizenship rights. There are reports of big detention camps being constructed in Assam. Existing detention camps have already resulted in horrific violation and murder of human rights and we therefore demand their closure and an embargo on new camps. Branding any person a 'Doubtful Voter' and placing them indefinitely in a detention camp is inhumane and unconstitutional.
We call upon all democratic minded people to remain alert to rebuff any attempts at targeting and persecution in the name of NRC. While the people of Assam took part in the arduous NRC exercise hoping for some closure on issues long haunting the state, the BJP has already revealed its communal and divisive agenda over the NRC. And now the BJP is more interested in linking it up with the communally formulated Amendment to the Citizenship Act and extending it to the entire country as a nationwide tool of exclusion and discrimination. All democracy-loving Indians must stand together to resist and foil this attempt.
General Secretary, CPIML