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Citizenship Bill vrs Rights of Indigenous People

Editor, 

In July 2016 the Lok Sabha introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeking to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. This will make illegal migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan who belong to six communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians eligible for being Indian citizens. Foreigners, who come into India without valid travel documents, or stay beyond their visa period, are considered illegal migrants. But certain exceptions have been made over the years. In Sep 2015, it says illegal migrants coming on or before Dec 31, 2014 are allowed to stay. And this exception was sought again in July 2016. Anybody who is born in India, has an Indian parent, or has lived in India for over 11 years, is eligible for Indian citizenship. Illegal migrants do not fit this category. The Bill seeks to allow illegal migrants to come in and to escape imprisonment and deportation. It also appeals for the minimum years of residency to apply for citizenship from 11 to 6 years. However, it does not extend to illegal Muslim migrants, Jews, and Bahais. Our Constitution does not allow dual citizenship. But Persons of India Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) enjoy certain rights in India, at par with Indian nationals. The Bill now seeks to cancel the registration of OCI cardholders if they violate any law.

Hearing on Citizenship Bill had begun amid protest in Guwahati to present a report before Parliament that seeks to grant citizenship to religious minorities facing persecution and violence for their beliefs. Barak valley supports the bill. The Joint Parliamentary Committee has visited Shillong, where a large number of Hindu Bangladeshis are living in Meghalaya. The Government of Meghalaya has rejected outright the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Those Hindus from Bangladesh fleeing to India to escape persecution have been living in NE and Bengal since long without citizenship rights. Are they needed to be protected by law in our country? The Bill may violate the Assam Accord 1985, which clearly states that illegal migrants heading in from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, would be deported. Section 6A of the Citizenship Act (Amendment) 1985 was the legislative enactment of the legal part of the Assam Accord. The tasks of Foreigners Tribunal Assam detect-delete-deport have identified almost 20,000 foreigners but it becomes impossible to deport them. However deportation has not been discussed between India and Bangladesh at any level so far. The purpose of updating the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) to identify foreigners is yet to be completed. Should we wait for the outcome of NRC to get the exact figures? Should Brahmaputra valley merely give up and succumb to JPC?

Yours etc.,

Kamal Baruah,

Guwahati

NEIGRIHMS sad state of affairs!

Editor,

It is indeed a very sad situation when your dear ones are suffering and you have to just watch  and do nothing about it. I want to highlight an incident that happened to me and my family, when we went to NEIGRIHMS for my mother’s operation. The female anesthetist (consultant) cancelled my mother’s case without any proper explanation on the morning of surgery. The same day I saw her outside NEIGRIHMS at 1 pm during duty hours. I also came to know from the relatives of other patients that she cancelled other cases like my mother’s. This is sheer harassment to the patients by this particular anesthetist and not by the Department. I have seen the  Anesthesia ICU being very busy. In fact the Operation Theatre  also runs 24×7 . During my stay in NEIGRIHMS I have visited the operation theatre and found very few anesthetists. It’s my appeal that NEIGRIHMS should get more competent anesthetists to help the needy patients and anesthetists with a vested interest should be removed.

Yours etc.,

Name withheld on request

 

Healthy lifestyle!

Editor,​

Our society has been transforming rapidly over the past few decades; and our lives are being over shadowed with work pressure and job related commitments. Under these circumstances, our traditional lifestyle is being impacted significantly. We have to cut corners to accommodate time for our family; hence our cooking time is getting limited and we are getting increasingly dependent on fast foods. This is not good for long term health for us; as well as our family members, friends and colleagues. Time being the biggest limitation to our daily life; it is important to be aware that health is a priority and the need of the hour is to build public awareness regarding healthy eating habits and a holistic lifestyle to cope with the pressures of our modern, busy life.

Sincerely yours
Saikat Kumar Basu
Lethbridge AB Canada

 

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