Thursday, July 18, 2019

India's Nationalists Threaten "Illegals"

While all eyes have been on the xenophobia of America's Trump and his intentions of deporting “illegal” immigrants, we should remember he is giving legitimacy to other countries sharing similar proposals.

India will identify and deport illegal immigrants from across the country, Home Minister Amit Shah told parliament on Wednesday, stepping up a campaign that critics say could stoke religious tension and further alienate minority Muslims. He said the government would not limit its efforts to Assam, but would come down hard on illegal immigrants anywhere.

"Illegal immigrants living on every inch of this country will be deported according to the law," Shah declared. Shah, is a Hindu nationalist hardliner and seen as a possible future replacement for Modi in the top job He called illegal migrants "termites" eating into Assam's resources during the election campaign.

While reinforcing measures against migrants slipping into the country, the government is trying to bring in a law that would simplify the process of getting Indian citizenship for immigrants from religious minorities persecuted in neighbouring Muslim countries, including Pakistan. People in Assam are scrambling to prove their citizenship as part of an exercise to prepare a Supreme Court-ordered registry of citizens in the state. The list is due to be released on July 31. A draft of the list released in July last year identified four million of the state's roughly 31 million people as illegal residents, including many Hindus. Human rights groups have warned that many residents, largely poor Muslims, are at risk of becoming stateless under the process.

Other states in the northeast have launched similar exercises to identify people without Indian citizenship. Mizoram state passed legislation in March to create separate registers for "residents" and "non-residents", and the neighbouring state of Nagaland is working on a similar register.

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