Teesta Setalvad empowers citizens and questions modalities with regards to NRC At an event, the human rights activist urged both, the public and the political class to oppose the NRC from being implemented in other states

31, Oct 2019 | CJP Team

The implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam has sounded a death knell for many across the state. Now, the government of India is planning to extend this exercise across the country, with no set procedures in place, unlike Assam, citizens groups across the country are turning to CJP to understand the implications of a government beginning to implement the National Population Register (NRC). Peremptory executive orders without any democratic debate or discussion – – as also the “decision” to open detention camps in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Bihar–have caused nationwide panic with 20 lives being lost in Bengal. Municipal corporation offices are lined with anxious citizens desperately trying to access birth certificates and the like.

Now that the final NRC has been published, and 19,06,657 people have been excluded from the final list, CJP’s campaign has become even more focused. Our objective now, is to help these excluded people defend their citizenship before Foreigners’ Tribunals. For this we have already started conducting a series of workshops to train paralegals to assist people at FTs. We will also be publishing a multi-media training manual containing simplified aspects of legal procedure, evidentiary rules, and judicial precedents that will ensure the appeals filed against the NRC exclusions in the FTs are comprehensive and sound, both in fact and in law. This will assist our paralegals, lawyers and the wider community in Assam to negotiate this tortuous process. For this we need your continued support. Please donate now to help us help Assam.

Amidst this nationwide crisis and clamour, CJP is rendering expert advice, conducting trainings, helping citizens build by the capacity to fight back. Our meeting in Mumbai made a beginning with more being held across Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Malegaon. CJP is a lone warrior equipping ordinary Indians to fight back. There is no need to panic but we need to be prepared.

What is the cut-off date going to be? What are the modalities to determine whether I am in or out of the NPR scheduled to begin in April 2020? While Assam had a specific and particular context, can a government, in a Democracy launch such a wide impact process without democratic discussion, deliberations, consultation and dialogue?

CJP is telling citizens across India, to fight back, democratically. Anywhere where we need to reach our expertise and training, we will. Ask us. Join us. Join this movement for the Rights of All in the Courts and beyond.

Recognising the looming humanitarian crisis that has affected hundreds of thousands in the state, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has over the past two years and more, stepped in to alleviate suffering and ensure the protection of rights of the most marginalised in Assam.

Teesta Setalvad, prominent human rights activist and the Secretary of CJP, at an event organized by the Siasat Urdu Daily, spoke to a gathering of around 200 people, about difficulties faced by people who failed to make it to the list of citizens during the NRC exercise in Assam.

At the event covered by the Deccan Chronicle and The Siasat Daily, she expressed her unhappiness with the mainstream media for not taking the NRC seriously.

Speaking about how difficult it was for people to appeal against the exclusion from the list she said, “It is up to both the general public and political class to oppose such a move.”

Muslims, as well as Hindus are a part of the 19 lakh citizens that have been rendered ‘stateless’ after the NRC in Assam. After helping Assam’s unfortunate NRC victims rehabilitate, CJP has not only taken as its prime responsibility the education of people to help them with the NRC process, should it be implemented elsewhere in the country; but also to question all those in power to define the modalities of the process.


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