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Saturday, 7 July 2018

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is highly discriminatory, against spirit of the Constitution: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind



Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is highly discriminatory, against spirit of the Constitution: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind
New Delhi: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has called the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, highly discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Addressing a press conference here today, JIH Secretary General Muhammad Salim Engineer said: “This bill is highly discriminatory and against the spirit of the Constitution of India and as it proposes to grant citizenship to people from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan according to their religion. Thus Hindus from Bangladesh would be accepted but not Muslims’’.

Regarding the NRC issue the Secretary General said: “We are deeply concerned with the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. Thus far the NRC has held 1.9 crore people of the 3.3 crore applications to be valid and bonafide citizens of India. The fate of 1.4 crore people still hangs in balance. The final list is expected to come out by end of July 2018. According to the Assam Accord signed in 1985, anyone who entered the state after 24 March 1971 is considered an illegal resident. However, if a person is accused of being a foreigner, then the onus of proof (to prove citizenship) lies on the accused. But genuine citizens who are impoverished and could not maintain proper records are impacted and now face the brunt of being branded as foreigners. Most are declared foreigners due to minor inaccuracies in their documents. The number of those declared as foreigners has increased dramatically after the BJP government came to power in Assam. Jamaat expects that the government agencies entrusted with the task of preparing the list of legal citizens shall discharge their duty diligently and without bias. Those in power in the state and the Center should also ensure that communal elements are reined in and law and order is maintained in Assam. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind was part of a fact finding team consisting of eminent journalists and human rights activists that recently visited Assam to find out how the NRC process was being implemented.  Its recommendations would be released in a separate press conference’’.

Earlier, President of Jamaat,  Maulana Syed Jalaluddin when asked about the reported event of BJP Minister Jayant Sinha felicitating ‘gau-rakshaks’ convicted for Ramgarh lynching, said: “such events should be condemned as it gives encouragement to those who take the law in their hands. Jamaat demands that the Central government and the state governments must put an end to such incidents of lawlessness and act seriously in maintaining law and order as well as communal harmony in the country which is the basic duty of any government.’’

 Jamaat-e-Islami Hind in its press note, issued in the press conference, expressing anguish at the growing lawlessness in the country with a spate of lynching incidents all over the country, said, “Till the 1st July there took place at least 16 cases of lynching since 10th May causing 22 deaths. Jamaat feels that since the last four years hate crimes and lynching against Muslims, Dalits and anybody suspected to be a criminal, have increased a lot. Anti-social and criminal elements are becoming daring and emboldened because no serious action has been taken against them and this is creating fear in the common citizens.”

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has expressed deep concerns at a government proposal to scrap the University Grants Commission (UGC) and replace it with the Higher Education Council of India (HECI). “Jamaat agrees with civil society and others from the academia that by withdrawing financial powers from the regulator (UGC) and handing them over to the central government, and by giving the HECI unilateral and absolute powers to authorize, monitor, shut down, and recommend disinvestment from Higher Educational Institutions, the Draft Bill will expose higher education in the country to ideological manipulation, loss of much needed diversity as well as academic standards, fee hikes, and profiteering. It seems to concentrate greater direct control of the government thereby undermining the autonomy and democratic foundations of the UGC,” reads Jamaat’s statement.

Jamaat has also opposed to the proposed lateral entry at the level of joint secretary into the administrative service. It said, “This will create dissatisfaction among the ranks of civil servants and reduce efficiency as two cadres with completely different skill sets, experience and training will be brought together. It will badly affect the share of backward classes and the SC/STs into the civil services and in governance and policy making.”

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