Shillong Dec 12: Opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Khasi Students Union (KSU) has expressed its disagreement with the Meghalaya High Court’s order that appealed the Central government to grant Indian citizenship to immigrants Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who face prosecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, KSU general secretary, Donald V Thabah said, “the Union completely disagrees without taking into account all aspects including the demographic structure of the North Eastern States in India.”
Thabah said that the Union appealed to all sections of the society to oppose and reject this Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which seeks to erase the diverse and unique communities of the North East.
In a judgment passed on December 10, judge of the Meghalaya High Court, Justice S R Sen said, “I can simply say that the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos residing in India which ever date maybe, they have come to India are to be declared all as Indian citizens, and those who will come in future also to be considered as Indian citizens.”
The single judge bench of the High Court passed this judgment after hearing a petition filed by one Amon Rana, who was denied a domicile certificate.
“I request our beloved Prime Minister, Home Minister, Law Minister and Members of Parliament to bring a law to allow Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to live in this country peacefully and with full dignity without making any cut off year and be given citizenship without any question or production of any documents. Similar principle should be taken to those who live in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. They may be allowed to come at any point of time to settle in India and the Government may provide rehabilitation properly and declare them citizens of India. Similar principle to be adopted for those Hindus and Sikhs who are of Indian origin and presently residing abroad to come to India at any time as they like, and they may be considered automatically as Indian citizens,” Justice Sen said.
Stating that the Union is not against any humanitarian venture by the country, Thabah said, “it feels that prior to the implementation of any international humanitarian act, the humanitarian perspective of the microscopic indigenous communities of North East India should also be taken into account.”
Stating that there are approximately 14 million Hindus in Bangladesh, the KSU leader cited an example of Meghalaya which has only more than 1 million ethnic Khasis, currently facing the wrath of unabated influx from migrants belonging to other communities.
“In the capital city of Shillong itself, the indigenous Khasi population constitutes not more 50 percent compared to past statistics. Therefore if such a bill is passed or if immediate citizenship is issued to the said migrants, then the indigenous communities in North East India are bound to be wiped out or depopulate by these migrants,” Thabah said.
The KSU further pointed out that if from the 14 million Bangladeshi Hindus, 3 million of them seek or granted Indian citizenship to settle in Meghalaya, then the 1 million Khasi populace will be reduced to a minority in a snap of a finger which in turn will lead to unimaginable discrimination of the tribal rights, customs and their political, economical and social rights which ultimately will result in their extinction and forced assimilation into the dominant communities.
TUR joins disagreement chorus
The Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) also disagreed with the recent judgment of the Meghalaya High Court through Justice S R Sen in a case related to issuing of domicile certificate to one Mr. Amon Rana where he urged the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Law Minister and Members of the Parliament to pass a law allowing Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to be allowed to become citizens without production of any documents.
“The judgment sought to characterise India as a ‘Hindu Country’ and outlined a very narrow religious and ethnographic centric view of Indian history which goes against the fundamental Secular and federal character of Indian Republic,” TUR said in a statement
TUR also urged the Meghalaya government to appeal against this what it called “flawed and controversial judgment” in order to restore citizen’s faith in secular Indian democracy itself.