S Sashikanth Senthil, an IAS officer who resigned from the civil services and from his post of the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka, has written a strongly worded letter to the Home Minister Amit Shah against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, that was passed in the Lok Sabha around midnight on Monday.
Senthil, who resigned in September this year in protest against the abrogation of Article 370 and the clampdown on Jammu and Kashmir, said in his letter to Amit Shah that the passage of the CAB “marked the darkest day in the history of modern India.”
He also called for a civil disobedience against the “communal bill” and NRC (National Register of Citizens). Senthil added that he will not accept the NRC and will not submit “the requisite documents to prove my citizenship” and will “accept the action taken by the Indian State” for his disobedience.
“I refuse to accept the process of enumeration in NRC by not submitting the requisite documents to prove my citizenship and is willing to accept the action taken by the India state against my disobedience. If the state chooses to declare me as a non-citizen, I would also be happy to fill up the many detention centers that you are building all over the country. I would accept the incarceration with all humbleness than to wait at the sidelines as a mute spectator to the communal profiling and disenfranchising of my fellow humans,” Senthil stated.
The Union government plans to extend the National Register of Citizens (NRC), first implemented in Assam, across the country. The NRC asks residents to prove their citizenship, the citizenship of their ancestors, and their relationship to their ancestors. In Assam, residents were asked to produce documents proving that they or their families lived in India before March 24, 1971, and in the final list published, more than 19 lakh residents were excluded.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill meanwhile was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday. The Bill excludes Muslims and aims to provide citizenship to refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Specifically, it outlines refugees belonging to six religions — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.
Addressing the Home Minister, Senthil wrote, “Your vehement defence of the bill on the floor of the house revealed a lot about the core ideology of hatred that drives your government. I feel completely ashamed that as a country that we have let down our Muslim and Adivasi brothers and sisters and have not succeeded in assuaging their fears about the secular ethos of the country.”
“The passing of this bill in the Lok Sabha has left a deep scar in the belief of already marginalized people and along with the NRC is surely an attempt to profile Muslims and Adivasis akin to the Asiatic Registration Act in South Africa and the Nuremberg laws of Germany,” he added.
Calling for a civil disobedience against the bill, Senthil called upon fellow citizens to follow the path that Mahatma Gandhi did in South Africa protesting the Asiatic Registration Act. The Act was passed in 1906 and required every Asian male to register himself to get a thumb-printed certificate for identification.
“As a former civil servant, I would advise you to increase the capacity of your detention centers, as many of us would fill it up before you succeed in your agenda. In the coming days you would realize that this country is the making of people who would stand up for one another and would fight every attempt by any authority to divide us,” Senthil said.
I should remind that irrespective of the status of the CAB the idea of an all India NRC by itself is a dehumanizing effort. We as people of this country should now stand up for all the marginalized. Annexed is my letter to the Home minister. It is Time to Act.#CABNRCSatyagraha pic.twitter.com/nhxrWEz8SS— sashikanth senthil (@s_kanth) December 10, 2019
NRC and CAB need to be fought tooth and nail. What better way than the Gandhian satyagraha. The Government cannot force us to cooperate with the process. Let us stand up #CABNRCSatyagraha @naukarshah @kavita_krishnan @savukku @dineshswamy92 pic.twitter.com/eGZmDts4ca— sashikanth senthil (@s_kanth) December 10, 2019