‘They Are Manufacturing Foreigners’: How India Disenfranchises Muslims – By Siddhartha Deb
One November morning in 2015, a 37-year-old woman named Sahera Khatun received a notice summoning her to a foreigners’ tribunal…. On the appointed day, Sahera and her husband made the two-hour journey in a crowded tempo to Foreigners’ Tribunal No.6, in the town of Barpeta. It was the first of many such appearances…. In June 2018, the tribunal delivered its verdict…. The tribunal ordered the police to take her into custody as an “internee” until she could be deported….
Sahera is one of around two million people in Assam who have been rendered stateless. Many are Bengali Muslims… who have nonetheless become the focus of a sustained campaign of disenfranchisement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party or B.J.P….
The Hindu right has long identified border regions like Kashmir and Assam as places to raise the specter of a Muslim threat. But while Kashmir has often been used to conjure the danger of secession, Assam represents, in the rhetoric of Hindu extremists, a more insidious menace…. Assam has become central to the question of who is – and who is not – entitled to be a citizen in India….