Communalism

Activists, Academics Urge President to Act on 'Sectarian' Citizenship Bill, NRC

"Rendering such a huge mass of people stateless would be an unprecedented catastrophe."

New Delhi: A group of 135 academics and activists have written to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to “ensure justice” to those who have been excluded from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens. The signatories have also opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was recently passed by parliament, saying that it “discriminates on the ground of religion and violates the constitutional principle of equality”.

The full text of the letter is reproduced below.

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Respected Rashtrapatiji,

We the undersigned citizens of India hereby seek your urgent intervention on two inter-related matters, which affect the lives of over one million people, perhaps more, in the state of Assam.

On the NRC

We express our deep anguish at the prospect of a very large number of people in Assam being deprived of citizenship and turned into an incarcerated population, as a result of the NRC process initiated at the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. It has been reported that out of the 40.07 lakh people excluded from the Final Draft of the NRC, only around 31 lakh people were able to file claims by the deadline of December 31, 2018. Thus, the fate of almost 9 lakh persons has practically been sealed as they are on the verge of losing their citizenship status. Many more may find themselves in a similar situation after the completion of the entire process.

In its judgment that initiated the NRC process, the Supreme Court had directed the central government to frame an adequate deportation mechanism in dialogue with the government of Bangladesh. The Indian government has not raised the deportation issue with its counterpart and has reportedly told the Bangladeshi officials that NRC is an internal Indian matter. In any case, deportation of one million people from Assam to Bangladesh does not appear to be within the bounds of possibility.

Rendering such a huge mass of people stateless would be an unprecedented catastrophe. The looming possibility of one million people – including children and women from poor refugee families – being held in detention centres would be no less inhuman and irrational. Even the possibility of this has pushed a significant number of people in Assam towards suicide. Apart from the human cost, the scale of these detention centres is bound to be an excruciating liability on the public exchequer. The option of turning the excluded persons into non-citizens in perpetuity without any right to participate in the democratic process, is equally inappropriate and counterproductive. This would create a separate category of second class citizenship, vulnerable to myriad kinds of harassment, victimisation and exploitation.

We earnestly urge upon you and the Hon’ble Supreme Court to reconsider the justification behind the NRC process in the light of the visibly calamitous outcomes, and ensure a humane and just result. We believe that granting citizenship to all the NRC excluded persons can provide such a solution.

On the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016

We also note with grave concern that the central government and the ruling party appear to be adamant on passing the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 in the Parliament. By making non-Muslim “illegal migrants” from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh eligible for Indian citizenship, the amendment explicitly discriminates on the ground of religion and violates the constitutional principle of equality.

The government is disingenuous in justifying this amendment as a means of assisting persecuted minorities in India’s neighbourhood. Had it been sincere, it would have included all persecuted groups, based on any religious belief, race, language or ethnicity and extended its scope beyond only those neighbouring countries with a Muslim-majority population.

The only conceivable purpose that the passage of such a defective Citizenship Amendment Bill can serve at this stage is to enable the ruling party to play sectarian politics in Assam on the eve of the general elections and divide the NRC excluded people on religious lines. We urge upon you as the custodian of the Indian Constitution to advise the central government to withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 and abandon such divisive political strategies.

We are hopeful that you will intervene at this crucial juncture to uphold human rights and ensure justice for one million people.

Signatories

1

Abhijit Mukhopadhyay

Economist based in New Delhi

2

Abhik Mukherjee

Senior Lecturer, Computer Science & Technology, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur

3

Abusaleh Shariff

Economist, Chief Scholar at the US-India Policy Institute, Washington DC

4

Achin Chakraborty

Professor of Economics and Director, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

5

Aejaz Ahmad Rather

General Secretary, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union

6

Akhilesh Yadav

Vice President, Allahabad University Students’ Union

7

Albeena Shakil

Associate Professor, Jindal Global University, Sonipat

8

Amit Bhaduri

Emeritus Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

9

Amiya Kumar Bagchi

Emeritus Professor, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

10

Amlan Dasgupta

Assistant Professor, Jindal Global University, Sonipat

11

Amutha Jayadeep

Joint Secretary, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union

12

Anamitra Roychowdhury

Assistant Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

13

Anand Teltumbde

Senior Professor and Chair Big Data Analytics, Goa Institute of Management, Goa

14

Aniket Alam

Associate Professor of History, International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad

15

Anirban Kar

Associate Professor, Delhi School of Economics

16

Anuradha Chenoy

Professor (Retd.) of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

17

Anwesha Sengupta

Assistant Professor, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

18

Arindam Banerjee

Assistant Professor of Economics, Ambedkar University Delhi

19

Arindam Jana

Advocate, Calcutta High Court

20

Arindam Roy

Research Scholar, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

21

Atulan Guha

Associate Professor of Economics, Indian Institute of Management, Kashipur

22

Avishek Konar

Assistant Professor, Jindal Global University, Sonipat

23

Ayesha Kidwai

Professor of Linguistics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

24

Bishnu Pada Mondal

General Secretary, Confederation of Central Government Gazetted Officers’ Organizations, West Bengal

25

Biswajit K.Bora

Academic and activist, University of Delhi

26

Byasdeb Dasgupta

Associate Professor of Economics, University of Kalyani

27

Debabrata Pal

Assistant Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

28

Debaprasad Maity

Assistant Professor, IIT Guwahati

29

Debarshi Das

Associate Professor, IIT Guwahati

30

Debjani Sengupta

Associate Professor of English, Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi

31

Deborshi Chakraborty

Research Scholar of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

32

Devika Prasad

Human Rights Activist and Researcher

33

Dhananjay Tripathi

Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, South Asian University, New Delhi

34

Dipa Sinha

Assistant Professor of Economics, Ambedkar University Delhi

35

Dwaipayan Banerjee

Researcher and actvist, Kolkata

36

Dwaipayan Bhattacharyya

Professor of Political Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

37

Farah Naqvi

Author and activist

38

Farhat Salim

Research Scholar, JNU

39

Ghazala Jamil

Assistant Professor, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU

40

Gitanjali Prasad

Program Manager, Hausla, Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi

41

Gogol Mitra Thakur

Junior Assistant Professor, Xavier University Bhubaneswar

42

Gorky Chakrabarty

Associate Professor, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

43

Harsh Mander

Director, Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi

44

Himanshu

Associate Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

45

Indranil Chowdhury

Assistant Professor of Economics, PGDAV College, University of Delhi

46

Ipsita Pal

Scientist

47

Jayati Ghosh

Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

48

Johanna Lokhande

Advocate, Delhi High Court

49

Kamal Mitra Chenoy

Professor (Retd.) of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

50

Kamal Nayan Kabra

Former Professor of Economics, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi

51

Karen Gabriel

Associate Professor of English, St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi

52

Kasturi Basu

Researcher and actvist, Kolkata

53

Kingsuk Datta

General Secretary, Association of Chartered Accountants

54

Kunal Chattopadhyay

Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

55

Madhu Bhaduri

IFS (Retd.) and Former Ambassador

56

Maidul Islam

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta

57

Manan Kumar Mandal

Professor in Bengali & Director School of Humanities, Netaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata

58

Manas Kumar Ghosh

Assistant Professor, Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

59

Manisha Sethi

Associate Professor, Centre for the Jawaharlal Nehru Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia

60

Manjari Katju

Professor of Political Science, University of Hyderabad

61

Manoranjan Mohanty

Professor of Social Development, Council for Social Development, New Delh

62

Mansi Sharma

Activist, New Delhi

63

Maroona Murmu

Associate Professor of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

64

Mihika Poddar

Graduate, National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) Kolkata

65

Mihir K. Chakraborty

Professor (Retd.), Department of Pure Mathematics, University of Calcutta

66

Mohinder Singh

Assistant Professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

67

Mohsin Alam Bhat

Assistant Professor, Jindal Global University, Sonipat

68

Mohsin Raza Khan

Assistant Professor, Jindal Global University, Sonipat

69

Murzban Jal

Professor, Centre for Educational Studies, Indian Institute of Education, Pune

70

Nabanipa Bhattacharjee

Assistant Professor of Sociology at Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi

71

Nalini Nayak

Associate Professor (Retd) of Economics, PGDAV College, University of Delhi

72

Nandan Nawn

Associate Professor, TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi

73

Nandini Dutta

Economics Department, Miranda House, University of Delhi

74

Nandini Ghosh

Assistant Professor, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

75

Navsharan Singh

Senior Program Officer, Women’s Rights and Citizenship Program, IDRC, New Delhi

76

Nirmalangshu Mukherji

Former Professor of Philosophy, University of Delhi

77

Parimal Bhattacharya

Associate Professor, Maulana Azad College, University of Calcutta

78

Partha Chatterjee

Professor and Former Director, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta

79

Parthapratim Pal

Professor of Economics, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta

80

Partho Sarothi Ray

Associate Professor, Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata

81

Pijush Roy

Assistant Secretary General, Confederation of Central Government Employee and Workers

82

Pinaki Chaudhuri

Reader, Theoretical Physics

83

Prabhat Patnaik

Emeritus Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

84

Pranab Kumar Acharya

Secretary, All India Civil Accounts Employees Association

85

Prasenjit Bose

Economist and activist, Kolkata

86

Pratim Ghosal

Research Scholar of Political Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

87

Praveen Jha

Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

88

Prithviraj Guha

Assistant Professor, Presidency University, Kolkata

89

Pulin B Nayak

Professor (Retd.) of Economics, Delhi School of Economics

90

R.V. Ramana Murthy

Professor of Economics, University of Hyderabad

91

Rafikul Hossain

Associate Professor & Head, Department of Bengali Language & Literature, University of Calcutta

92

Rahul Varman

Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

93

Rajarshi Dasgupta

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

94

Ratan Khasnabis

Dean, School of Economics and Commerce, Adamas University West Bengal

95

Rita Sinha

Associate Professor (Retd.), Janki Devi Memorial College, University of Delhi

96

Rohit Azad

Assistant Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

97

S.P. Shukla

IAS (Retd.), Former Union Finance Secretary & Ambassador to GATT

98

Sabyasachi Sen Gupta

Professor of Electrical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur

99

Sachin N

Assistant Professor of English, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi

100

Sajjad Hassan

Director, Misaal & Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi

101

Salman Imtiaz

President, Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union

102

Santanu Basu

Associate Professor, Panjab University, Chandigarh

103

Sarika Chaudhary

Vice-President, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union

104

Saumyajit Bhattacharya

Associate Professor of Economics, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi

105

Seema Mustafa

Editor, The Citizen

106

Senthil Babu

Researcher, French Institute of Pondicherry

107

Shakuntala Mahanta

Associate Professor, IIT Guwahati

108

Shantanu De Roy

Assistant Professor, Department of Policy Studies, TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi

109

Sheetanshu Kumar

Assistant Professor of Hindi, Assam University, Silchar

110

Shiv Sethi

Sanhati-India

111

Sirisha Naidu

Associate Professor, Wright State University, USA

112

Sitala Prasad Roy

Addl. Secretary General, All India Association of Pay And Accounts Officers (Civil)

113

Smita Gupta

Independent Researcher, New Delhi

114

Somnath Roy

Assistant Professor, IIT Kharagpur

115

Souvik Roy

Research Scholar, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur

116

Subhanil Chowdhury

Assistant Professor, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

117

Subhasis Bandopadhyay

Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur

118

Subrata Mukherjee

Associate Professor, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

119

Sudipta Bandyopadhyay

Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Calcutta

120

Sudipta Bhattacharyya

Professor of Economics, Visva-Bharati, Shantiniketan

121

Sukanta Das

Assistant Professor, Department of Information Technology, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur

122

Sumit Sarkar

Associate Professor of Economics, XLRI Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur

123

Sunanda Sen

Former Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

124

Supurna Banerjee

Assistant Professor, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

125

Talha Abdul Rahman

Advocate, Supreme Court of India

126

Tanweer Fazal

Associate Professor of Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

127

Taposik Banerjee

Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi

128

Utsa Patnaik

Emeritus Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

129

V. Lenin Kumar

Assistant Professor, School of Government, Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune

130

Vamsi Vakulabharanam

Associate Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

131

Vebhuti Duggal

Assistant Professor of Film Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi

132

Vibha Iyer

Assistant Professor of Economics, Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi

133

Vijaya Venkataraman

Associate Professor, Germanic and Romance Studies, University of Delhi

134

Vikas Bajpai

Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

135

Xonzoi Borbora

Associate Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati