Former IAS officers Kannan Gopinathan and Sasikanth Senthil have criticised the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for posing challenges before the country’s social fabric and for being anti-poor in nature.
Both the IAS officers had recently quit their job in protest against the actions of the Union government.
Speaking at an event on Challenges to Democracy: NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill, organised in Bengaluru on Sunday, Gopinathan said that it was the government’s responsibility to identify illegal immigrants. “But it has transferred this to the entire populace through NRC, just as it did with demonetisation to weed out black money,” he said.
Both the former IAS officers were of the view that the poor, landless labourers, homeless, migrants and predominantly women who have no documents will be at the receiving end of NRC.
“Citizens will become refugees for want of documents, and the government will be charitable to only non-Muslims. The Muslims will become infiltrators. This is a violation of our fundamental rights,” Gopinathan said, adding that “what is essentially anti-poor is being marketed as anti-Muslim”.
Senthil condemned the whole NRC process as a move inspired by ‘fascist playbook’ and termed it as a project to “dehumanise the out-group” which will create a public sanction to “deal with them”.
“Fascism is defined around a leader, conjures up a glorious mythical past and seeks to go back to it with a hyper-nationalist call. It always creates an out-group, an enemy of the order — all of which has now happened in India. In Germany, Jews were marked with yellow stars in an attempt to dehumanise them. NRC also uses words such as infiltrators, termites,” he said.
A day before the event took place, Gopinathan wrote an oped in a national daily about his experiences with the NRC process. He mentioned that the political messaging around NRC is that if you follow any religion other than Islam, you do not have to worry, because there would be a Citizenship Amendment Bill.
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