Wednesday, November 20, 2019

USCIRF Criticizes Action In India That Targets Bengali Muslims

Yesterday the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a report titled The Religious Freedom Implications of the National Register of Citizens in India. The report says in part:
On August 31, 2019, the government of the northeastern Indian state of Assam released an updated National Register of Citizens (NRC), originally introduced in 1951 as part of India’s first census. The purpose of updating this list was to verify the citizenship of Assam residents and aid the government in identifying so-called “infiltrators” or “illegal immigrants.” India’s Union government supported this effort, and both national and state leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have pushed for the implementation of an NRC in other states..... Union Home Minister Amit Shah has expressed his desire to implement a nationwide NRC.
The final NRC list excluded 1.9 million Assam residents. Moreover, a number of domestic and international organizations have expressed concern that the NRC is a targeted mechanism to disenfranchise Assam’s Bengali Muslim community, implicitly establishing a religious requirement for citizenship and potentially rendering large numbers of Muslims stateless.