By Navneet Mishra
New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) The Central government has appealed to the people not to get misled by the rumours and doubts over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act – CAA, and National Register of Citizens (NRC), as violent protests broke out across the country over the two issues.
The government, in a bid to quell and address the doubts related to CAA and NRC, has provided answers to some of the most common questions related to them.
The government said that the NRC-like process at the national level has not started yet, adding that in the NRC, no proof of being an Indian will be sought from Muslims, and only an identity card will have to be shown.
Here are the answers to some questions issued by the Central government:
Question – Will the Muslims be asked for proof of being Indian through NRC?
Answer – Firstly, it is important for you to know that no formal initiative like NRC has been started at the national level. The government has neither made any official announcement nor have any rules and regulations prepared on it. If it is implemented in future, then it should not be understood that someone will be asked for proof of his Indianness.
In one way, you can think of NRC as a process like Aadhaar Card or any other identity card. To register your name in the citizenship register, you have to provide any of your identity cards or other documents, as you provide for the Aadhaar card or voter list.
Q – What if a person is not educated and does not have the relevant documents?
A – In this case, the concerned official (carrying out the NRC exercise) will allow that person to bring a witness. At the same time, other evidence and community verification (identification from the villagers) will also be allowed. A proper procedure will be followed. No Indian citizen will be put in undue trouble.
Q – There are a large number of people in India who do not have homes, are poor and are not educated, they do not have the basis of identity, what will happen to such people?
A – Such people cast vote on some basis and they get the benefit of the welfare schemes of the government. Their identity will be established on the basis of that.
Q – Does NRC exclude any transgender, atheist, tribal, dalit, women and landless people who do not have documents?
A – No. NRC, when implemented, will not affect any of the groups mentioned above.
Q – If NRC is applicable, do I have to prove the pedigree before 1971?
A – It is not like that. For pre-1971 genealogy, you do not have to present any type of identity card or any documents like birth certificate of parents, ancestors. It was valid only for the Assam NRC, based on the Assam Accord and the Supreme Court’s directive. The NRC process is completely different (from that of Assam) for the rest of the country.
Q – Whenever NRC comes into force, do we have to provide birth details of parents to prove our Indian citizenship?
A – It will be sufficient to give you the details of your birth such as date of birth, month, year and place. If you do not have the birth details available, you have to provide the same details about your parents. But there is absolutely no compulsion to submit any document by the parents. Citizenship can be proved by submitting any documents related to date of birth and place of birth. However, a decision is yet to be taken on such acceptable documents. It is likely to include voter card, passport, Aadhaar, license, insurance paper, land or house papers or other similar documents issued by government officials. The list of these documents is likely to be longer. So that, no Indian citizen has to suffer unnecessarily.
Q – Does citizenship law affect any Indian citizen?
A – The Civil Amendment Act under the Citizenship Act 1955 does not prevent any citizen of any country from applying for Indian citizenship. Baloch, Ahmedia, Rohingya can apply for Indian citizenship at any time, provided they fulfill the qualification related to the Citizenship Act 1955.
(Navneet Mishra can be contacted at [email protected])