This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Priyanshu Singh. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The CAA-NRC Row: “A Minor Technical Glitch Can Make You Homeless And Stateless”

Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) are the perfect avenues that the government of the day has found to ostracise a particular section of the society it not only includes large a Muslim population but also other minorities such as the Scheduled Tribes (ST)s, Schedule Castes (SC)s and also the other economically weaker sections (especially people below poverty line) of society.

Now, if we look at the bigger picture, it could be found that NRC and CAA are closely interlinked, as the people who would be left out in the NRC list due to lack of documents and technical glitches, leading to a mismatch of documents in the  NRC would not be disenfranchised from their citizenship rights just by the virtue of being a Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh, Jain and Parsi; but if you are a Muslim then in just a flick of seconds, you are declared illegal.

 To this, the question arises as to what about those who don’t belong to any of the above-given communities such as the Adivasis who don’t belong to any of the above prescribed religious communities or the atheists or the irreligious. Which means this Act is discriminatory on various grounds such as of religion, class, caste and sex as well. As this very exercise would turn out to be treacherous not only for sexual minorities, namely the LGBTQI community, but also the women in the country who would be hardest hit.

Thus, this would result in the social and political exclusion of various communities and of them, the most affected would be social and economically disadvantaged, which means that rather than protecting the minorities and the weak in the society, we would be snatching their lives and livelihoods. Hence, this not only violates article 14 and 15 of the constitution but is also against the basic structure doctrine and the idea of the constitution.

Though there are various grounds on which CAA stands frivolous and prejudiced as mentioned above, I would here emphasis mainly on the Scheduled Tribes (ST)s and the other religious minorities (atheist and antagonistic, which includes various tribes as well).

Anti-CAA protest
The recent attacks on students during the CAA-NRC protests have alienated a significant portion of the vote bank for BJP.

Scheduled Tribes, Birth Certificate And NRC

There are about 8.6% scheduled tribes(ST) in India according to 2011 census which means that we have about 104.3 million Adivasis of which 11.2% live in rural India. Now, since most of the tribal population in India is rural, access to various documentation policies of the government remain out of their reach, this could well be witnessed in the low number of birth registrations among the Adivasis. 

 In India, almost every two out of five children in the country don’t have birth certificates as of 2015-16, National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) data. If we look at the numbers for the Scheduled Tribes according to the NFHS-4, 2015-16 only about 55% had their births registered and possessed a birth certificate. Now as the data from 2015-16 shows that the number of birth registration is itself so low for Adivasis as compared to the so-called ‘mainstream society’, which mainly comprises the upper caste, that is about 71% of them possess and have a registered birth.

This indicates that in all probabilities the Adivasis would be at a disadvantage. Since a birth certificate is the most basic document that is required to prove your citizenship in the NRC process, and as the 2015-16 data suggests that it is the Adivasis among whom the birth registration is quite low. In case one is not able to authenticate his/her birth certificate, there are all possible chances that one would be detained.

This shows how this very process of NRC in multiple ways could lead to discrimination by making the vulnerable more vulnerable, and in this case, it would be the Adivasis and not the upper section of the society, which means that almost  45% of them have chances of being left out of the NRC list and are likely to be stuffed in the unhabitable conditions of detention camps. 

Lesson from Assam

As we have seen in the case of Assam there were about 19 lakh people who were excluded from the final list.

Living in an atmosphere of fear, despondency, hopelessness and more than anything else, breathing every single second being in the apprehension of being declared ‘stateless’ and of being left abandoned without anything to depend on for survival, with no work, no food and shelter.

According to the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG), there are about one lakh Scheduled Tribes (ST)s who are originally inhabited to Assam were excluded from the NRC list. RRAG also says that the majority of women from one of the tribal community, Reang community, were excluded from the list because of their inability to prove their legacy since 1971. 

This very conduct of NRC in India could in all possibilities lead to the expulsion oflarge population, especially of the Adivasis or Scheduled Tribe as it can be seen in the case of Assam that one of the main sufferers of this very exercise is the Scheduled Tribes. The data of NFHS-4  above shows that there is a poor documentation level among the tribes across various parts of India. This also means that in the near future, it is not only in Assam but across India that we would soon be facing a similar disastrous situation. Our own people will be on the verge of being declared ‘stateless’, very similar to what Assam today is going through. 

Protests at Shaheen Bagh
Protests at Shaheen Bagh against CAA-NRC.

The Impact Of CAA-NRC On Atheists And The Indigenous 

According to the 2011 Census data, there are about 2.9 million Indians who didn’t share their religion and there are about 7.9 million Indians who belong to the category of ‘other religions’. This means that theses categories not only include the 33,000 atheists but also the indigenous religious communities and various other believers who don’t recognise themselves as Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Muslim, Christian, Jain or a Buddhist.

These are the forest dwellers, the animists, the syncretises, nature worshipers and the aboriginals who have been an integral part of this country from centuries. These groups reside in the regions, from the Eastern Himalayas of North East India to the plateaus of central India and from Northern Himalayas of Leh to the Nilgiri forests of Southern India and the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Which means that by not recognising these indigenous groups, we are likely to make our society more homogeneous rather than having a more inclusive society, through this very process of NRC and CAA.

As per the 2011 Census data, the rural population among these two categories that is religion ‘not stated’ and ‘other religion’ are much higher than the urban population, so there are about 7.2 million who belonged to the category of ‘others’ and about 1.6 million who didn’t state their religious identity. These numbers clearly indicate that people who didn’t follow a religion or didn’t know their religion, are also part of this category.

Now if we consider 2011 Socio-Economic and Caste Census data, it indicates that the ‘others’ category has the largest population of Scheduled Tribes which is about 82% of the total 7.2 million population from the ‘others’ category and since a large number reside in rural parts and have a very low level of socio-economic development.

The above inputs give us a plausible idea that during the very conduct of National Register of Citizens this very group is going to be the most vulnerable, this includes the various Adivasis and aboriginal communities who are very much likely to be excluded and the chances of them being included through the CAA is quite rare.

The False Claim 

The Home Minister of India, Mr Amit Shah, vociferously avowed that the CAA law is to give citizenship to all refugees, which seems to run contrary to this very Act itself. As the act suggests that, only members of the Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian communities who have come from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh till December 31, 2014, and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. If in true sense persecution would have been the basis for this very law, than probably the ground on which citizenship is provided wouldn’t have been so discriminatory in nature. 

The Persecution Faced In Pakistan, Afghanistan And Bangladesh 

The myopic perspective that since these are Muslim majority countries the chances of Muslims being persecuted is unlikely, which is very much far from the real picture as the Ahmadiyyas, the Sufis, the Shias, the Balochis, Jews, the atheists and even the women and children from the majority community have been facing prejudices in Pakistan. The situation is even worse for Afghans as many of these innocents are living under fear and trepidation of being executed, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether you are a Muslim, Hindu or a Sikh.

Hundreds of Hazaras, atheists and Shias have been killed, many are of them are living like refugees in various parts of Delhi who aspire to be given citizenship of India, but the reason that they are not eligible to be citizenship through CAA stands quite unfair though they are persecuted but will not be given citizenship just because they are Muslims. Not only religious minorities but also atheists have been facing grave discrimination in Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, an intolerant ideology called ‘atheistophobia‘ has so strongly surfaced that the people who are rational, irreligious or who don’t conform with the majoritarian idea are under death treats day and night. Thus, in all these countries not only are other religious minorities being cherry-picked but also the minorities within the same religion. The story doesn’t stop there, as the atheists, free thinkers and the agnostics face the worst nightmares as they are time and again subjected to capital punishment and harsh blasphemy laws. 

In a nutshell, it can be easily said that NRC and CAA in all capacity are detrimental to the very idea of India. They have the capability of denying citizenship to one on the basis of their religion, belief, conscience, caste, creed, sex and your economic status and in this case, all are interconnected. A minor technical glitch can make you homeless and stateless, the anguish among the people is so high that it can be said that- This provokes situations and circumstances where the mind is not without fear and the head cannot be held high.

You must be to comment.

More from Priyanshu Singh

Similar Posts

By pratyush prashant

By Chiranshu Sihag

By Deepak yadav

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below