Press Statements

Exclusion of 4 million from Citizens' Registry a horrible atrocity says Indian Americans

Relatives of former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed among those at risk of becoming stateless; Targeting of religious minorities apparent motive say Muslim organizations

August 2, 2018 (Illinois, USA): The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos has called for the immediate suspension of the National Registry of Citizens, until irregularities that have resulted in four million people being excluded from the list are resolved. The ethnic group that is the worst victim of this mass disenfranchisement is the Bengali speaking Muslim community in Assam, accused of being "infiltrators," although they are Indian citizens.

International bodies such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as well as civil society institutions across India have expressed concern about the process that could render the four million people stateless. "It is possible that the process will arbitrarily deprive people, who have lived in India for decades, of their nationality," Amnesty said in a statement.

"The fact that this is an exercise in subversion of democracy and has a clearly bigoted, discriminatory agenda, is reflected in the exclusion of the relatives of the former President of India," said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. "The entire program should be suspended until the criteria for exclusion are clearly defined," added Mr. Khan

The stark contrast between the government's warm welcome of the Hindu migrants from Bangladesh and its openly hostile attitude to Rohingya refugees reeks of bigotry and a penchant to view some refugees as less deserving of humanitarian treatment only due to the religion they practice.

As local organizations have pointed out, the update process that was under the supervision of the Supreme Court experienced a number of interventions by the state government. Human rights activist Suhas Chakma rightly dubbed the NRC list the "biggest exercise for disenfranchisement in human history."

IAMC has called on the central government not to allow religious differences to define the socio-political landscape of the country, where something as basic as a citizen's right to be called a citizen of the country is arbitrarily snatched away.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

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