Amid the ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has said that if the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is implemented, over half the population in his state will not be able to prove their citizenship as they neither have land nor land records.
Baghel further said that half the people in Chhattisgarh do not possess any document to prove their citizenship as their ancestors were illiterate who migrated to different villages or states.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a programme here on Friday evening, Baghel reiterated that the way Mahatma Gandhi had opposed the identification scheme of Britishers in Africa in 1906, he will oppose the NRC exercise.
Asked whether people will have to stand in queues, as happened during demonetisation, to prove their citizenship once the NRC is implemented, Baghel said, “Indeed, we have to prove that we are Indians. How those who are not able to do so, will be accommodated?
“In Chhattisgarh, there are 2.80 crore people and more than half of them will not be able to prove their citizenship. They neither have land records nor land. Their forefathers were illiterate. Most of them migrated to other villages or states. From where they will bring the 50-100 years old documents,” he asked.
“This is just an unnecessary burden on people. We have several agencies to check infiltration in the country. The agencies can take action against the infiltrators. But how come they (Centre) can trouble the common people,” he said.
Likening the NRC to the identification scheme implemented in South Africa, the chief minister said, “Mahatma Gandhi had opposed the identification scheme of Britishers in Africa. Similarly, we will oppose the NRC and I have already announced that if it is implemented, I will be the first one who will not sign the NRC document.”
Apart from NRC, Baghel had also criticised the NDA government over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted non- Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Protests against CAA that were earlier confined to the northeast, have swept the country over the past week after several protesters, including students clashed with the police in Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia on December 15.
The amended law seeks to provide citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and have arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014.