Nation's orphans - Editorial - IAMC
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Nation’s orphans – Editorial

The final National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam was released on Saturday, but a closure to the citizenship issue in the state remains distant.… Instead of blaming the process, political parties need to recognise, perhaps, the flaw that lies in the imagination that produced the NRC. Modern societies are shaped by migration and it may be futile to engage in costly exercises to identify “outsiders”. Despite the fiasco in Assam, BJP leaders are demanding NRCs elsewhere too – for instance, Manoj Tiwari wants one in Delhi.

During the 2019 election campaign, BJP President Amit Shah spoke about “ghuspaithiye” and compared illegal migrants to termites. The time has come to steer the conversation away from excluding people, and towards accepting the reality of migration and exploring ways to make it work better for the economy.

The idea of citizenship can’t be imprisoned within the framework of blood and soil or religion; it needs a broader, more inclusive definition rooted in the liberal spirit of the Constitution. For now, however, at the end of an elaborate NRC process monitored by the Supreme Court, which has shown unusual alacrity in doing so, the onus is on the court to ensure that human rights are not undermined by short-term political interests.