New Delhi: As soon as the Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in both houses of Parliament and given Presidential assent making it a law, loud murmurs started about another proposed legislation — a nationwide NRC. So what is the NRC that the opposition is worried about and has many concerned?
What is NRC?
NRC is the National Register of Citizens. The NRC identified and eliminated illegal immigrants from Assam on the Supreme Court’s order. This has been a state-specific exercise to keep its ethnic uniqueness unaltered.
But ever since its implementation, there has been a growing demand for its nationwide implementation. Now, many top BJP leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah have proposed that the NRC in Assam be implemented across India. It effectively suggests to bring a legislation that will enable the government to identify infiltrators who have been living in India illegally, detain them and finally to deport them where they came from.
Who stands to lose?
The proposed Bill, which till now remains just a proposal, if implemented will target illegal immigrants in India. But Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhist, Jains and Parsis coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh won’t be affected, if they claim they have arrived India after fleeing religious persecution.
Which essentially means, if a nationwide NRC comes in as proposed, any illegal immigrant from other than Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, will be affected. And as for those three nations, people coming from there who belong to the Muslim community will also be affected as they are not included in the Citizenship Amendment Act.
What will happen to the affected?
As proposed, if a nationwide NRC comes in place, the affected will be detained and taken to large detention centres, as it is happening in Assam. After that, the Ministry of External Affairs will get in touch with the concerned nations.
If the details of the detained are matched and accepted by the concerned nations, deportations will follow.
The politics of NRC
BJP chief Shah has been raising the pitch for a nationwide NRC for some time now. As late as this October, Shah raised the matter in West Bengal, not far from Assam. He had said: “We had brought the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha, but the TMC MPs did not allow the Upper House to function. They did not allow the bill to be passed, and due to this, there are people in our country who are yet to get the Indian citizenship.”
In Haryana, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar too made the promise of bringing the NRC in the state during his election campaigning. Even Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS supremo has been pitching for the same, though behind closed doors.
Whether a nationwide NRC will come in place or not is a premature question to answer. But going by the speed the government is moving in bringing some rather bold legislations, like abrogation of Article 370 in the monsoon session of Parliament and CAB in the winter session, a pan-India NRC Bill in the next Parliament session won’t be a farfetched idea.