16, Mar 2020 | CJP Team
CJP in Action: CJP conducted one more workshop in Bhiwandi in collaboration with Lok Raj Sangathan and Bhiwandi Jan Sangharsh Samiti. Suhel Banerjee from CJP was the Speaker for the evening. The workshop was attended by social activists and the curious and worried people of the neighbourhood.
Citizenship has been defined as the right to have rights. Over the past six years, there have been clear political moves to fundamentally assault and redefine this Constitutional basis of both Indian nationhood and citizenship. Especially now, with the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 being passed and a not thoroughly debated all India-level NPR-National Register of Citizens (NRC) process. CJP is urging people to understand, organise and fight back democratically. Let’s stand up for the Constitution of India. We must unequivocally reject CAA 2019 and at the same time in the same breath, NPR/NRC. For this we need your support.
A simple question was asked at the beginning of the workshop – how many in this room are Indians? Everybody raised their hands, then they were asked how they will prove their citizenship? The government has not specified any guidelines yet. We at CJP are urging people to educate themselves and fight back against these unconstitutional moves. India does not have a 100% voter registration; birth registrations are a mere 58%, this raises the basic question of how people will be able to prove their citizenship based on documents.
In every workshop we believe that we must share let people know about the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. The Citizenship Act, 1955 enacted under Article 11 of the Constitution grants citizenship by birth, naturalisation, registration and annexation. From 1950-1987 a person has to be born here to be an Indian citizen; after 1987, apart from her/his birth one of the parents has to have been born Indian; after 2004, in addition to one of the parents being born here, the other should not be an illegal migrant.
India has had a long history of accepting and giving citizenship to people from different countries who might have faced persecution in their own country. So, the question here arises why the current government has excluded neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar.
By clubbing the Census and NPR process together and by issuing contradictory statements, the government is trying to indicate that the NPR is not NRC. But indeed the process of of NPR will lead to a NRC. CJP has published many community resources, available to everyone in multiple languages.
The Registration of Births and Deaths Act was enacted in 1969. This act made it compulsory to register all births. However, according to UNICEF, “The current registration level of births and deaths in the country is about 58% for births and 54% for deaths. Each year about 42% of births go unregistered, which is about 10 million births.” Now if this is the case today, imagine what it was like before 1971! Or whatever the new cut-off date will be! When even Birth Registrations are not cent per cent, how can we expect a thorough NPR/NRC?
Each of our workshops are concluded with an intensive question and answer session. Drawing from our intrepid experience in Assam in fighting for human rights for the marginalised, CJP is trying to reach as many people as possible. CJP has been conducting in person and online trainings for volunteers, activists, legal professionals, trade unions and students. You can join a training near you or organise one for your area. We have conducted workshops in places like Mumbai, Pune, Malegaon, Hyderabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangalore and we are urging people to understand the importance of this issue.