A two day tribunal was held in New Delhi on September 7 and 8, 2019 to examine the scope and scale of the citizenship crisis in Assam in wake of over 19 lakh people being left out of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC). After presiding over the tribunal hearing, the jury members have come up with an interim report showcasing their preliminary findings.
Jury members of the tribunal represented the creme de la creme of India’s legal fraternity, civil society and academicians such as Justice (Rt) Madan Lokur, Justice (Rt) Kurien Joseph, Justice (Rt) AP Shah, Ambassador Deb Mukharji, Ms. Githa Hariharan, Dr. Syeda Hameed, Prof. Monirul Hussain and Dr. Faizan Mustafa.
In their observations, the jury members say, “We all agree that the NRC has spawned a humanitarian crisis. We worry because there are no signs of this crisis abating.”
The jury members also noted the following key aspects of the plight of hapless people forced to defend their citizenship in Assam:
• the burden of proof was shifted to the residents to prove that they were citizens,
• documents related to birth, schooling and landownership, which impoverished and unlettered rural residents anywhere would find hard to muster, were insisted upon.
• Even when documents were produced, they were often refused for discrepancies, in the English-language spelling of Bengali names, or in age.
Some pictures from the proceedings may be viewed here:
The jury focused on finding answers to four key questions:
- Has the NRC process been in conformity with the constitution?
- What has been the role of the judiciary in upholding constitutional processes and morality?
- What was the humanitarian crisis?
- The implications of extending NRC to the rest of the country.
The complete interim report may be read here:
Final NRC published in Assam
CJP in Assam: The evolution of our campaign to avert a humanitarian crisis
What next for those left out of the NRC?
I would have attempted suicide again had my name been excluded from the NRC: Hassan Ali
CJP trains paralegals to help Indians defend their citizenship
CJP moves SC to defend genuine Citizenship of people in Assam
CJP in Action: Additional Exclusion list released, our team swings into action in Assam