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Need to fight BJP’s divisive politics: Bhushan

He said 100-plus volunteers are being trained to help those who have been excluded from NRC

By Gaurav Das in Barpeta
  • Published 17.11.19, 12:23 AM
  • Updated 17.11.19, 12:23 AM
  • 2 mins read
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The meeting in progress at Lakhipur Sar in Barpeta on Saturday. Picture by Gaurav Das

Prashant Bhushan, a senior Supreme Court lawyer and critic of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), while addressing an open public rally here on Saturday on the occasion of the first annual Sar Sanmilan, said the BJP-led government at the Centre and state was trying to create a divisive atmosphere between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the name of NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill.

He said the people were “tired of the BJP’s hate politics and will fight against it”.

Bhushan, who accompanied a team of human rights and peace activists from different parts of the country under the aegis of Karwan-E-Mohabbat, a peacebuilding initiative, said the government wants to throw out the Bengali-origin Muslim minority community of Assam and strip them of their citizenship rights through NRC and replace them with Hindus by bringing in the citizenship bill.

Deriding the citizenship exercise, foreigners tribunals and detention centres as a “gross injustice to the state’s Bengali-origin Muslim community”, Bhushan urged the 1,000-plus people who attended the public meeting at Lakhipur Sar to be strong and challenge the exclusion from the citizenship roster through legal means. He said the entire system of putting the onus on certificates and documents in proving one’s citizenship was wrong.

“This is injustice from all sides and it needs to be fought against. What the Centre and state are trying to do through NRC and the citizenship bill is create a divisive atmosphere between Hindus and Muslims and snatch the rights of the Bengali-origin Muslim community of the state. Through the bill it wants to snatch the voting rights of these people and give it to the Hindus. This will create panic and lead to politics of hate between the two communities. We cannot let this happen. It is important that we stay united and fight this,” he said.

Bhushan also visited a foreigners tribunal in Barpeta district. He said, “The way a foreigners tribunal functions is beyond the understanding of common people. The framework and structure of such tribunals is quite improper and it creates hindrance for people who are out to prove their citizenship.”

Leading human rights activist, social worker and writer Harsh Mander, addressing the rally, said it was important that people stay united and have trust in the Constitution.

He said 100-plus volunteers, under the aegis of Karwan-E-Mohabbat, are being trained to help those who have been excluded.

“The volunteers will reach out to the people and help them through legal course. It is important that female volunteers make the right effort in helping such people. Female volunteers give shape to overall empowerment. People have to know about the legal process,” Mander said.

The rally also gave a platform to local activists to list certain demands, including rehabilitation and resettlement of sar dwellers who have been displaced, distribution of land patta, end to harassment meted out to sar dwellers in the name of citizenship and commencement of the 10-year socio-economic survey of sar areas which has been discontinued since 2003.