Statement Condemning the Implementation of CAA and NRC-NPR, Custody of Chandrashekhar Azad, Akhil Gogoi and Sadaf Jafar
Ambedkarite NLU Students’ Collective
We, the collective of Ambedkarite Study Circles of National Law Universities, vehemently and unequivocally condemn the custody of Chandrasekhar Azad, Akhil Gogoi and Sadaf Jafar. We believe that this is excessive state action and suppression of the constitutionally guaranteed democratic right of expression to the citizens of India. Moreover, it represents the state trying to silence the voice of individuals who have emerged as icons in depressed and marginalized communities, this in itself suggests their objective of targeted suppression and violent repression of dissent in the nation.
We believe that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (hereinafter ‘CAA’) stands against the foundational constitutional values of India. The CAA is devoid of any reasonable classification and discriminatory, as it uses religion as the basis for granting citizenship. As concerned citizens, we express our dismay at using religion as a criterion for citizenship in the Act. The use of religion as a criterion marks a radical break with the rich history of our country which has oft celebrated ‘unity in diversity’. It is our firm belief that the Act stands inconsistent with the basic structure of our constitution as well as constitutional morality. The CAA by directly excluding the Muslim community greatly strains the pluralistic fibre and secular fabric of the country. Furthermore, the National Registry of Citizenship (hereinafter ‘NRC’) also places an extremely high burden on individuals to prove their citizenship, which shall result in disproportionate detention, discrimination and concomitant loss of lives. At the same time, the current Citizenship Amendment Act by extending the deadline to 2014 endangers the social fabric of Border States in the Northeast and raises relevant concerns indigenous communities that cannot be ignored. We believe in a solution that balances both these indigenous rights and human rights of individuals in the North East. We believe the same devious sentiment of exclusion exists behind the nationwide exercise of the National Population Register (hereinafter ‘NPR’). The CAA, NRC and now the NPR therefore, fail to achieve such a compromise. They stand against the very constitutional ethos of the Republic of India.
1. We appeal for the expedient and unconditional release of Chandrashekhar Azad, Akhil Gogoi and Sadaf Jafar. We believe that this move is intended to bring about a chilling effect on freedom of speech and to curb dissent, specifically within marginalized and minority communities within the nation. As students of law, we wholly and unequivocally condemn such state-sanctioned silencing and sanitization of free speech and the disproportionate use of force by the state. Therefore, we beseech the judiciary to take due cognizance of the same and ensure that justice prevails.
2. Moreover, we call for the immediate withdrawal of the Act and request for a legislation that will address the concerns of refugees, stateless persons including Eelam Tamils and other minorities in a non-discriminatory manner.
On behalf of:
1.B.R. Ambedkar Study Circle, NUALS (Kochi)
2.Savitribai Intersectional Study Circle, NALSAR University of Law (Hyderabad)
3.Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle, NLUD (New Delhi)
4.Ambedkar Study Circle, NLUO (Cuttack)
5.Marx Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, TNNLU (Tiruchirappalli).
6.Savitri Phule Ambedkar Caravan, NLSIU (Banglore)
[via Shreyas Alevoor]