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Health India

Statelessness a greater fear than COVID-19?

Apparently yes, as many people still queuing up to get their names corrected at Aadhaar centres and protestors still staying put.

Sabrangindia 20 Mar 2020

aadhar

Until a few weeks ago, the nation was abuzz with protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and the national Register of Citizens (NRC). While the leaders of the ruling government have constantly gone back and forth in their narrative on the NRC, citizens have strongly suspected that NPR is the gateway to NRC and hence have been vehemently opposing an NPR with intrusive questions that will help government determine people’s citizenship.

Ever since the disease called COVID-19 has spread like an epidemic in India, all other debates have been side-tracked but the protestors are adamant and the people still fear the NRC, a little more than COVID-19. The Shaheen Bagh protestors of Delhi have even called CAA-NPR-NRC a more deadly virus than the novel coronavirus. Despite the ban on gatherings in Delhi, the Shaheen Bagh protest has continued while adhering to safety measures, like reducing number of protestors to 50 and making protestors sit at one metre distance from one another, also wearing masks and making use of sanitizers. The protestors demand that CAA be revoked so that they can end their sit in and then there wouldn’t be threat of COVID-19 to them at all. But these calls are falling on deaf ears.

Even protestors at Bengaluru’s Bilal Bagh seems relentless and were not ready to budge. One of them said that they will be thrown out of the country if they sit at home.

Meanwhile, many government services have slowed down with many state governments implementing the 50% attendance in their offices. Yet, the state of West Bengal is facing a sort of crowd crisis in times when governments are making extra efforts to prevent crowds. People in the state are still lining up at Aadhaar centres to get their names changed or names corrected so as to not face any serious trouble when NRC finally happens. The government had to order the closure of Aadhaar centres in Bengal for an indefinite period to avoid mass gatherings.

One senior postal department officer told The Telegraph, “Hundreds of people had been queuing up every day at post-offices (which double as Aadhaar centres). Such gatherings were becoming a matter of concern in view of the coronavirus threat. We have 1,116 post-offices. However, after the state government ordered the closure of these centres, we have directed all post-offices to follow the guideline”.

On March 18, reportedly, a post office in Bankura area had to seek police help to handle the crowd of around 2,000 people who had queued up to register their names for corrections in their Aadhaar cards. Many people who had gathered said that they were more scared of NRC than COVID-19.

One of the people who had queued up outside an Aadhaar centre was Kowsara Tun Tahera, standing with her six-year-old nephew. She told The Telegraph, “I don’t know when the Centre will roll out the NRC. As I am newly married, I want to change the address on my Aadhaar card to where I live now.” While being aware about the risk she was taking, she said, “I know that I should be at home during this time but I can’t sleep well till my Aadhaar card is corrected. The correction is more important for us.”

The fear of being rendered stateless is so high that people are willing to risk their own and the community’s life at risk for it. Meanwhile, NRC related activity has been put on hold in Assam which was supposed to hand out rejection slips to those excluded from the final NRC which was released in August 2019.

Related:

BREAKING: NRC related activity put on hold in Assam due to Corona Virus

"Does the Coronavirus ignore wedding parties, and attack only peaceful protests?"

Haji Ali, Mahim Dargah close for devotees amid Covid-19 pandemic

Madras HC paves way for police permission for anti-CAA protest when Covid-19 ban is lifted

Statelessness a greater fear than COVID-19?

Apparently yes, as many people still queuing up to get their names corrected at Aadhaar centres and protestors still staying put.

aadhar

Until a few weeks ago, the nation was abuzz with protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and the national Register of Citizens (NRC). While the leaders of the ruling government have constantly gone back and forth in their narrative on the NRC, citizens have strongly suspected that NPR is the gateway to NRC and hence have been vehemently opposing an NPR with intrusive questions that will help government determine people’s citizenship.

Ever since the disease called COVID-19 has spread like an epidemic in India, all other debates have been side-tracked but the protestors are adamant and the people still fear the NRC, a little more than COVID-19. The Shaheen Bagh protestors of Delhi have even called CAA-NPR-NRC a more deadly virus than the novel coronavirus. Despite the ban on gatherings in Delhi, the Shaheen Bagh protest has continued while adhering to safety measures, like reducing number of protestors to 50 and making protestors sit at one metre distance from one another, also wearing masks and making use of sanitizers. The protestors demand that CAA be revoked so that they can end their sit in and then there wouldn’t be threat of COVID-19 to them at all. But these calls are falling on deaf ears.

Even protestors at Bengaluru’s Bilal Bagh seems relentless and were not ready to budge. One of them said that they will be thrown out of the country if they sit at home.

Meanwhile, many government services have slowed down with many state governments implementing the 50% attendance in their offices. Yet, the state of West Bengal is facing a sort of crowd crisis in times when governments are making extra efforts to prevent crowds. People in the state are still lining up at Aadhaar centres to get their names changed or names corrected so as to not face any serious trouble when NRC finally happens. The government had to order the closure of Aadhaar centres in Bengal for an indefinite period to avoid mass gatherings.

One senior postal department officer told The Telegraph, “Hundreds of people had been queuing up every day at post-offices (which double as Aadhaar centres). Such gatherings were becoming a matter of concern in view of the coronavirus threat. We have 1,116 post-offices. However, after the state government ordered the closure of these centres, we have directed all post-offices to follow the guideline”.

On March 18, reportedly, a post office in Bankura area had to seek police help to handle the crowd of around 2,000 people who had queued up to register their names for corrections in their Aadhaar cards. Many people who had gathered said that they were more scared of NRC than COVID-19.

One of the people who had queued up outside an Aadhaar centre was Kowsara Tun Tahera, standing with her six-year-old nephew. She told The Telegraph, “I don’t know when the Centre will roll out the NRC. As I am newly married, I want to change the address on my Aadhaar card to where I live now.” While being aware about the risk she was taking, she said, “I know that I should be at home during this time but I can’t sleep well till my Aadhaar card is corrected. The correction is more important for us.”

The fear of being rendered stateless is so high that people are willing to risk their own and the community’s life at risk for it. Meanwhile, NRC related activity has been put on hold in Assam which was supposed to hand out rejection slips to those excluded from the final NRC which was released in August 2019.

Related:

BREAKING: NRC related activity put on hold in Assam due to Corona Virus

"Does the Coronavirus ignore wedding parties, and attack only peaceful protests?"

Haji Ali, Mahim Dargah close for devotees amid Covid-19 pandemic

Madras HC paves way for police permission for anti-CAA protest when Covid-19 ban is lifted

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