There is a widespread outrage across the nation against this Act called CAA and the survey called NRC and NPR proposed to be implemented by the Government of India. In most parts of the country, students, youth and people from diverse background, belonging to various groups, sects, castes and religions have come out in open protesting against these 

proposals. Specifically, the students and lecturers of colleges and universities across the nation have embarked on an intense agitation. Many well known  writers and journalists, apart from several high ranking former Bureaucrats as well as intellectuals, retired judges and noble laureates have condemned these proposals and have termed them as immature,  illogical, impractical and partisan. Of the 13 parties constituting the ruling NDA, 10 parties have already taken a stand against the government and have expressed solidarity with the people. Many State Governments have already declared that they will not implement these ill intended projects of the Union Government. Condemnations have been pouring in from various foreign Governments and Human Rights organizations across the globe.

A BUNCH OF CONTRADICTIONS CALLED THE CAA 

Modi and Shah had been consistently reiterating that they would not indulge in any discrimination based on religion. But right now, there is no doubt in any ones mind that this Act called CAA is being  implemented only with an ill intention of creating anarchy in the country by provoking and instigating the Muslims and the other marginalized communities. As per this new Act, Indian citizenship will be offered to refugees belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi faith, who have migrated to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan for reasons of religious persecution. One can see below a bunch of contradictions in this fundamentally flawed Act:

  1. There is no illegal immigrant issue anywhere in India other than Assam and some North Eastern states. There was no  demand by any state seeking an Act like this to deal with the issue of illegal immigrants. That being the case, naturally, serious doubts have arisen about the intention of the government behind bringing out an unwanted and controversial Act like this while the same Government is being indifferent to the innumerable burning issues before the country and ignoring the just demands of the citizens to mitigate them.

  2. Currently Muslims and Atheists coming from these three neighboring countries have been totally excluded from the eligibility criteria for getting the Indian citizenship. If the intention of this act was purely humanitarian in nature and really aimed at helping the refugees and migrants, there was no need to keep a select few outside its purview. The citizenship could have been offered uniformly to everyone who has migrated because of the persecution or on apprehension of such persecution, irrespective of their religion and faith,

  1. While the Government has thought it fit to include a distant country like Afghanistan in its list, it has excluded countries   like Sri Lanka, China, Nepal, Tibet, Myanmar, Bhutan, etc that are in our immediate neighborhood. 

  2. It is clear that this Act is not meant to take care or protect the interests of Hindus either. The reason is, as per this Act, the Hindu illegal immigrants coming from China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and other neighboring countries are not eligible for citizenship even if they come for reasons of religious persecution.

  3. Persecution does not always happen on the basis of religion alone. It happens for a variety of reasons like language, region,race, culture, politics, etc. but CAA is applicable only for the victims of persecution on the basis of religion and not for those victimised for other reasons. 

  4. Why are the Muslims excluded from the purview of this Act? When this obvious question is posed to our rulers they come with a bizarre response. Muslims can seek shelter in so many Muslim countries in the world, they say. This is a meaningless argument because no Muslim country in the world has offered shelter to any foreign Muslim refugee coming from India; Nor is there any Muslim country having a treaty with India to accept Muslim refugees from India. Going by their logic, Christians and Buddhists will also have to be excluded, as there are more than a hundred countries with Christian dominance and there are at least seven neighboring countries with Buddhist dominance (Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Mongolia). If humanitarian consideration was the reason behind this Act, there is no logic in excluding Rohingya Muslim refugees of Myanmar, Tamil Hindu migrants from Sri Lanka or Buddhists from Tibet who are truly eligible for citizenship based on the atrocities faced by them for varied reasons like religion,region etc. 

  5. Our Government which is set out to offer shelter to the victims of atrocities in other countries, is today itself infamous for its own poor record with regard the protection of Human Rights of its own citizens. In India, the level of heinous crimes like mob lynching, mass rape and atrocities perpetuated in the name of caste and religion have risen to alarming levels. The Government has miserably failed in reining in this trend. That being the case, this Government should have been proactive in rescuing its own people from such atrocities, by strictly establishing a just rule in its owns soil first. But, on the one hand it is  totally oblivious to its own duties and responsibilities at home and on the other it has set out to offer protection to the immigrants from other countries. By doing so our Government has made itself a laughing stock before the world community.

  6. If the intention of the Government was genuinely to offer Indian citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to some designated religions based on religious persecution in the three neighboring countries, it could have offered them citizenship by inviting applications from them. Instead of following this simple route to give citizenship to just a few deserving people.  Instead, when the government embarks on a massive campaign to subject crores of Indians to a citizenship test, it can only be described as megalomania and one can't help smelling a dangerously diabolic conspiracy behind this entire exercise.

  7. If the government is conducting this exercise really to identify illegal immigrants from other countries, it should have treated it as its foremost duty to safeguard the interests of crores of poor, rural and illiterate citizens who are today being faced with the danger of losing their citizenship just because they do not possess a few formal papers, cards and records. But the Government doesn't seem to have bothered to take any precautions in this regard.

  8. Most importantly, discrimination on the basis of religion in the matter of offering citizenship to people, is a gross violation of the basic tenets and aspirations of the constitution of India.

A WANTON MISCHIEF CALLED NRC

There is a long history behind NRC (National Registry of Citizenship). In 1947, when India underwent partition, lakhs of Muslims from India migrated to Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan) and lakhs of Hindus from that country migrated to India. The local Assamese people had severe reservations about these innumerable Bengali immigrants. They always had a grouse that because of these immigrants, their language,culture and economy is seriously affected and compromised. In 1979, a massive agitation began in Assam demanding the deportation of these illegal immigrants back to Bangladesh and making Assam an immigrant free state. There was a canard spread across the country then that the immigrants in Assam were all Muslims from Bangladesh. Many had even believed this. But the fact was that most of them were Bengali Hindus. This agitations that lasted for more than six years had grown into mammoth proportion. Finally in 1985, the Union Government consented to many a demand of the agitators and arrived at an accord. Accordingly, it was declared that NRC would be implemented in Assam and by 25th March 1971 all illegal immigrants who had settled in Assam would be identified and either deported to the country of their origin or detained in Detention Centers. But this exercise of identifying the immigrants kept getting deferred indefinitely and remained in limbo. In 1999, for the first time, the Union Government decided to update the NRC in Assam. But it didn't go any further. After 11 years, in 2010, the NRC survey began on an experimental basis in two places called Chaigaon and Barpeta in Assam. The Chaigaon experiment was successful. But in Barpeta, there were violent protest resulting in four deaths. The survey was abruptly called off. In 2013, the Honorable Supreme Court of India issued an order to the Union and the Assam government to restart the process. After several rounds of deliberations, in 2015, finally the exercise to update NRC by identifying the foreigners began in Assam. This major initiative, using nearly 52,000 government staff and spending a mammoth Rs.1,220 crores, got embroiled in serious anomalies. According to many, including the leaders of Assam Gana Parishad (AGP), who had demanded this action in the first place, the initiative turned out to be a monumental failure. The common people were totally disgusted with the way this exercise was conducted. They felt, they were being subjected to untold hardships by way of official apathy, prejudice,corruption and high handedness. Such being the case, every sensible citizen of India is naturally concerned. He is apprehensive about the massive ramification and the mammoth national despair this exercise, which turned out to be a failure in a tiny state, could cause if it is taken up nationwide.

In the Assam operation, 19 lakh people were identified as illegal immigrants and 75% of them turned out to be Hindus.

Notwithstanding whether they were Muslims or Hindus, there was still no certainty that they were all immigrants. Many among them have been the inhabitants of this land for ages. But the poor and the destitute, mainly from the agricultural and labour class were simply unable to provide all the documents that the Government demanded from them. And for this reason, they were branded as foreigners. What can one say about the government which is now hell bent upon depriving crores of poor, backward, tribal and nomads of their citizenship across India for want of a few records, by extending this tragedy to the entire nation? 

One of the unexpected outcomes of the NRC exercise in Assam was that the canard spread by the vested interests across the nation that there were about 60 lakh to 2.5 crore Muslims of Bangladeshi origin in Assam, has finally been proved to be totally false and baseless. Today not just the people of Assam but the entire nation are convinced about this. As a result, the people behind this false propaganda stand totally exposed and the people who have been indifferent so far with a false belief that only Muslims will bear the brunt of this are badly jolted now.

A SUDDEN LEAP FROM REGIONAL NRC TO NATIONAL NRC

It is an established norm that only if an experiment turns out to be successful at one place, it would be taken up for implementation at another place. This is the basic purpose of any experiment. When an experiment turns out to be a failure, it is either abandoned or it is taken up for a revamp. But in the case of NRC, the Government's stand is totally surprising. It has set out to implement a failed Act with further complex provisions all across the country ! The Government that burnt not just its own fingers but the fingers and pockets of hapless citizens of this country by an ill conceived project called Demagnetisation, instead of learning lessons from this tragedy, has now set out on this mindless misadventure of Decitizenisation !

The same NRC that was relevant only to Assam has now been repackaged by the central government to be implemented across the nation as NRIC (National Register of Indian Citizens). The roots of both the NRC and NRIC projects can be traced to the amendments that the NDA Government under Vajpayee made in 2003 to the Citizenship Act of 1955 and the Citizenship Rules 2003 formulated by the same government. It obviously was another exercise to brand people who are opposed to the selfish interests of a few privileged castes and to Sangh Parivar that represents them, as outsiders, infiltrators, untrustworthy or simply anti national. Thus the Vajpayee government sowed the seeds of NPR and NRIC. As per the Citizenship Rules of 2003, the Government could take up the task of preparing the Citizenship Register at any time of its choice and the local Registrar is empowered to verify the data relating to every family and can mention as 'suspicious case' if his team feels so [Citizenship rules 3(4) & 4(3) ]. 

Now the Modi regime has taken upon itself the onus of completing this unfinished task that the then Vajpayee Government had tried to undertake discretely. In order to find out the relationship between CAA, NRC and NRIC and the diabolic intentions of dividing the Indian society, one just has to pay close attention to the statements of the Home Minister Amit Shah. That will uncover the veil of secrecy. It is worthwhile recollecting one of his many tweets in this regard. On May 1 st last year, he had tweeted, “We will first bring the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and grant citizenship to all the immigrants from the neighboring countries. After that we will implement NRC and will identify the infiltrators and will expel them from our motherland".

A MYSTERIOUS EXERCISE CALLED NPR

The government has set aside a mammoth fund of Rs. 8,700 crores for the nationwide census to be taken up in 2021. Along with that, it has also reserved another huge sum of Rs. 3,900 crores for a mysterious operation called NPR (National Population Register). The decennial census which started in 1893, has already been conducted 15 times and

the 16th census will begin on the 9th of March, 2021 and end on 28th of March, 2021. This decennial exercise is expected to employ about 33 lakh strong staff and will cost in total about Rs.12,000 crores. The government is saying that the NPR is a precursor to the census to be taken up in 2021 and NPR will be conducted between April and September, 2020. But people who are in the know of politics and are privy to the inner information of the administration are of the opinion that the government is not being truthful in this regard and that there is neither a need for the NPR for this country nor there is any relationship between Census and NPR and that in reality NPR is just a prelude to the controversial and draconian NRIC. As per the official announcements, the purpose of NPR is to collate a comprehensive data pertaining to the common citizens of India. The Home Minister Amit Shah and many leaders of the central government have declared unequivocally that NPR and NRIC have no connection. But if one would rummage through the records of parliament from the time Modiji came into power in 2014, it would become amply clear from at least nine replies furnished by the Government to various questions raised in the parliament that NPR is indeed the first step towards NRC. Moreover, even in the Citizenship Rule of 2003, formulated by the Vajpayee government, it has been clearly suggested that the NRC data must be reconfirmed based on the data collected through NPR. The Government is being utterly untruthful that the NPR is a precursor to the decennial census operation. It is in reality, a preparation for the NRIC and not for the census at all. It has no connection with the census. Census is conducted as per the Census Act of 1948 and NPR is conducted as per the Citizenship Act of 1955, the amendments made to that Act in 2003 as well as the Citizenship Rules formulated in 2003.

In India, NPR was conducted for the first time in 2010 during the tenure of the UPA Government and it was further updated in 2015 in preparation for the issuance of Aadhar cards for the citizens. The government is alluding to this and questioning the locus standi of the citizens protests by pointing out that after all they are simply following the policies of the UPA Government in the matter of NPR. In fact even during the UPA regime, NPR, in principle was perceived by many as a precursor to NRC. But practically, it was not deployed so. Moreover, in its basic manifestation, the NPR survey conducted by the UPA Government and the NPR survey proposed to be taken up by the Modi Government have many vital differences. For example:

1) Old NPR had 15 questions and the current one has 21

2) In the 2020 NPR, there are additional questions regarding a person’s old residence address, passport number, Aadhar Card,driving licence, voter’s ID, mobile number and most importantly date and place of birth the parents.

Many might ignore these differences as insignificant. But to be able to see the real danger one should look at the directives given to the officers, in the 'INSTRUCTION MANUAL FOR UPDATION OF NATIONAL POPULATION REGISTER (NPR) 2020 FOR ENUMERATORS AND SUPERVISORS'. Therein, the officers visiting every house to collect information have been instructed to ask about the Date and Place of birth of every person, apart from seeking several other documents. 

These officers will not insist on any particular document. However, if they feel that the documents and information presented to them are not fully satisfactory, they will mark the citizenship of such persons as 'Doubtful'.    

HOW TRUSTWORTHY ARE THE ASSURANCES OF OUR LEADERS?

In order to assuage the fury of the people against CAA, NRC and NPA, our hon’ble Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the various leaders of the leading dispensation are constantly assuring the people that nobody would face any hardship on account of these exercises. But, if they had fulfilled even one assurance out of the hundreds offered by them in the past, regarding controlling black money, improving Indian economy, creating employment, reigning in sky rocketing prices, curbing corruption etc., at least a few people would have taken them a bit seriously. But since people are fully aware of the fate of all their false assurances, no one is paying any heed to their words. Moreover, if all the leaders belonging to the same party were speaking in the same manner, the people might have still believed them. But when the statements of each leader is in total contradiction of the other and there is no consistency even in the statements of one leader, how could anyone believe them?

Faced by a widespread agitation across the country, the prime minister in fact declared recently that there never is or was a proposal by the government about nationwide NRC. This, in spite of the fact that the Home Minister had categorically mentioned in no less a forum than the Indian Parliament just a few days ago that there will be a nationwide NRC. Even the honorable president of India in his address to the Joint Session of the Parliament had broached this subject. But the prime minister blatantly stated that NRC was never even thought of by his Government and it is just a propaganda of the opposition parties and the urban Naxals !

How would the people trust that NPR and NRC have no relation and NRC will not deprive them of their citizenship going by the mere words of the same Prime Minister and his team, based on whose assurances, many poor people in the country waited with hope for the fulfillment of the promise made by them that black money stashed overseas by the Indians would be brought back and every citizen would get Rs.15 lakh in his or her Bank account. The Govt which banned the currency notes in the name of controlling black money not only had failed 100% in its avowed intention but in the bargain, it even broke the backbone of India’s economy. The nation is yet to recover from this massive shock . Now in the name of identifying illegal immigrants, this government is embarking on an exercise to view all its citizens with suspicion until they prove it otherwise. Obviously people are apprehensive that this time around, the government will push the entire society into anarchy. 

In the light of all this, the government should correct itself by gracefully accepting that its conspiracy has been exposed. It should heed to the just demands of millions of Indians from diverse background who have come out on the roads across India in expression of their outrage and at once take back CAA, NRIC and NPR.

NPR, NRIC & CAA - 3 vital steps to the deceptive, fatal trap 

Step 1 - Personnel appointed by the Government for NPR will approach people all over the country (except Assam). They will ask a series of questions and will seek several documents. One of the most crucial question according to the Instructions Manual of the National Population Register (NPR) will be about the place of birth and date of birth of one's Father and the Mother. If the visiting official is not satisfied generally with the answers and the documents produced and particularly with the information on the questions related to both the parents, the citizenship of the person will be marked in the records as 'Doubtful'. 

Step 2 - Those whose citizenship is marked as 'Doubtful' will be served a Notice in accordance with the Citizenship Rules 2003 and will be asked to furnish documents regarding the Date of birth and Place of birth of his / her parents. If the authorities are not satisfied with the documents, he / she will be categorised as 'illegal immigrant' and will be excluded from the list of citizens. 

Step 3 - Those categorised as 'illegal immigrants' will be given 90 days time to furnish documents proving their citizenship, before the District Registrar. If the Registrar is not satisfied with their documents, they will be declared as ineligible to be enrolled as citizens in the NRIC (National Register of Indian Citizens). Subsequently he / she will be identified as 'illegal immigrant' and will be driven into Detention Centers in accordance with the provisions under CAA (Citizenship amendment Act).   

The obvious dilemma of this entire process is that the citizens will be asked to prove their citizenship and the task of proving their citizenship will absolutely be on them. Even spelling errors or any variance in the spellings between two documents may be reason enough to reject such documents. Besides, the process is so designed that it will be the officers of junior ranks who will arbitrarily determine the status of the citizen at the primary level, merely on the basis of spelling errors in the documents or non availability of documents to show the place and the date of birth of both or one of the parents of a person. Such being the case, if such officers happen to be lazy, corrupt or biased, the task of proving one's citizenship and escaping the fate of being thrown to the Detention Centers will be a monumental challenge even for the most bona fide citizen of this country. 

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New Delhi: The number of people in India who have recuperated from COVID-19 went past 18 lakh on Saturday with a record 57,381 patients discharged in 24 hours pushing the recovery rate to 71.61 per cent, according to the health ministry data.

India's 'test, track and treat' strategy has achieved another peak with 8,68,679 COVID-19 tests done in a 24 hours taking the cumulative tests done till Friday to more than 2.85 crore, the ministry said.

Twelve states and union territories have reported their recovery rates above the national average. In 30 states and UTs the COVID-19 recovery rate is more than 50 per cent, it highlighted.

Delhi has the highest recovery rate of 89.87 per cent followed by Tamil Nadu at 81.62 per cent, Gujarat 77.53 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 74.70 per cent, West Bengal 73.25 per cent, Rajasthan 72.84 per cent, Telangana 72.72 per cent and Odisha 71.98 per cent.

With more patients recovering and being discharged from hospitals and home isolation, the total number of recoveries have surged to 18,08,936.

"The gap between the number of recovered patients and active COVID-19 cases has increased and crossed 11 lakh (11,40,716 today). This is a result of coordinated efforts of the Centre, state and UTs which has led to a continuous increase in average daily recoveries," the ministry said.

There are 6,68,220 active COVID-19 cases, the actual caseload of the country, which is 26.45 per cent of the total cases. They are under active medical supervision, the health ministry said.

Focus on effective treatment in hospitals, supervised home isolation, use of non-invasive oxygen support, improved services of the ambulances for ferrying patients for prompt and timely treatment, upgradation of clinical management skills of doctors treating COVID-19 patients have in tandem resulted in seamless efficient patient management, it said.

"This has ensured that India's Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is maintained below the global average. It is on a continuous positive slide and currently stands at 1.94 per cent," the ministry said.

Graded and evolving response has resulted in a testing strategy that steadily widened the testing net in the country. To keep up with this strategy, the testing lab network is being continuously strengthened which now consists of 1,465 labs of which 968 are in the government sector and 497 private.

India's COVID-19 tally reached 25,26,192 on Saturday with a spike of 65,002 cases, while the death-toll climbed to 49,036 with 996 people succumbing to the disease in 24 hours, the health ministry data updated on Saturday 8 am showed.