The Telangana BJP on Saturday demanded a National Register of Citizens in the state. Their demand comes on a day when 19 lakh persons were left out of the final list of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
In a press statement issued by party chief spokesperson for Telangana state K Krishna Saagar Rao, the BJP claimed that there’s a steady growth of illegal immigrants in the state in general and Hyderabad in specific in the guise of refugees.
Alleging that the TRS-led government along with its ally the AIMIM was turning a blind eye to the issue, the BJP stated, “BJP considers this trend is growing and illegal immigrants are moving into Telangana State from many borderline states, finding the local environment conducive for their survival. Telangana state government in political connivance with AIMIM is looking the other way, with full knowledge of this dangerous trend.”
Claiming that the Telangana police have pegged the number of illegal Rohingya refugees in the state as 5000, while the real numbers were ‘running into several lakhs’, the BJP alleged, “These illegals are being used by AIMIM in variety of ways apart from using them as illegal voters during elections.” According to the UNHCR, Rohingyas, are a stateless, mostly Muslim minority who have traditionally lived in Myanmar. However, following violence against them in 2017, lakhs were forced to flee Myanmar, rendering them stateless.
The BJP press release further alleged that the illegal immigrant issue is a “ticking time bomb” and can have “very dangerous consequences for “communal harmony, peace and stable law & order in the state”. Pointing to the NRC in Assam, the party statement reads, “As the core purpose of any NRC initiation like in Assam is to ensure no illegal immigrants become citizens of India fraudulently, it must be applied to Telangana state too. This should be taken up in the larger interest of the state and the nation.”
The state wing of the BJP intends to formally appeal to and brief Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the relevance of this demand.
The party has, however, not provided any proof to back their claim over the large number of illegal immigrants. Speaking to TNM, Krishna Saagar Rao alleged, "That's why we need an NRC to determine the numbers. The current government isn't doing anything about this issue. There are huge colonies in Old City full of illegals - now they are also moving to Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Adilabad and other areas."
Criticisms against NRC
Over 3 crore people have been found eligible for inclusion in the final NRC in Assam while over 19 lakh people, including those who did not submit their claims, have been left out. However, there has been severe criticism in the way NRC list was prepared and later verified. The Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma sought a fresh reverification of the final published NRC list.
He has claimed that the names of many Indian citizens who migrated from Bangladesh as refugees prior to 1971 have not been included in the NRC because authorities refused to accept refugee certificates.
The process of drafting the names for the NRC has been questioned since there have been instances where some members of a family featured in the draft list while the others did not. Earlier this year, Kargil War veteran Mohammad Sanaullah was detained by the border wing of the Assam Police last month after a Foreigners' Tribunal in Assam declared him a "foreigner" and sent him to a detention camp in Goalpara district in Western Assam. He was later freed after a court granted him bail.
The exercise has also been criticised over objections from third-party persons – people who featured in the 2018 list had to submit their documents again after unknown persons filed objections over their inclusion. There have also been reports that several people who were submitting their documents faced harassment. Opposition leaders have also alleged that a majority of the names that have been excluded are Muslims and accused the BJP government of targeting the Muslim community under the garb of the NRC.
The Congress had also claimed that around 44 people killed themselves in Assam after not finding their names in the draft NRC published by the Assam government last year.