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‘NRC excluded people spent Rs 7,836 cr on hearings’

The survey was carried out in Baksa, Goalpara and Kamrup (Rural) districts of Assam between July 17 to July 20 this year and that the survey covered 62 respondents.

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Guwahati, Aug 27 (IANS) The people in Assam excluded from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) spent Rs 7,836 crore for the hearings and many have been so economically crippled that they will not be able to challenge their exclusion before the Foreigners’ Tribunals, New Delhi-based Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) said on Tuesday.

Releasing report, “The Economic Cost of Draft NRC: Poor Made Extremely Poor”, RRAG Director Suhas Chakma said that respondents during a survey carried out by RRAG said hey have spent an average of Rs 19,065 per person for attending the hearing.

“If Rs 19,065 has been spent by each person excluded from the NRC on an average, it implies that a total of Rs 78,360,371,985 spent by 41,10,169 persons excluded from the draft NRC at present,” he said.

The survey was carried out in Baksa, Goalpara and Kamrup (Rural) districts of Assam between July 17 to July 20 this year and that the survey covered 62 respondents.

“The per capita income of Assam during 2018 was Rs 67,620 as per the Ministry of Finance. If Rs 19,065 has been spent for the NRC hearings by each excluded person, it implies that their per capita income had been effectively reduced to Rs 48,555 or about $700 which is at par with Central African Republic, the civil war ridden country with the lowest per capita income in the world, just above Somalia,” Chakma said.

The NRC has made 41,10,169 excluded persons, who constitute about 13 per cent of the state’s 31 million population and many are overwhelmingly below the poverty line. Many had to mortgage agricultural lands, sell their cattle, livestock and agricultural products like betel nuts, and paddy or their only means of income like auto-rickshaws while many took loans to meet the expenses for the NRC hearings.

Explaining the reasons for the high expenses, the report said: “Every person excluded from the draft NRC had to spend more money because when a person from the family is excluded from the draft NRC, it is not only the excluded person who has to attend the NRC hearings but all the adult members of the family or blood relatives who are otherwise included in the draft NRC have to accompany the excluded member as witnesses before the NRC authorities.

Chakma added: “The expenses multiply because the excluded person has to be present himself or herself along with witnesses for multiple times before the NRC Seva Kendra. Further, many excluded persons received notices from the NRC Seva Kendra in another district to establish the legacy data of their parents or grandparents in that place.”

“As majority of those who shall be excluded from the final NRC to be published on August 31, 2019 have already been so economically crippled that they shall not able to meet the costs between Rs 100,000 to Rs 150,000 to challenge the exclusion before the Foreigners’ Tribunals which are quasi-judicial bodies and require representation by lawyers. If they do not have the capacity to defend before the FTs, the question of challenging before the High Court and the Supreme Court does not arise,” he said.

The report stated that hundreds of thousands of people are staring at extreme poverty, hunger and imprisonment in the detention centres as each person shall have to file appeal before the designated Foreigners’ Tribunal constituted under the Foreigners’ (Tribunals) Order, 1964 following publication of the NRC or be treated as foreigner and face the consequences.

India

FIR against 60 women for anti-CAA protests in Aligarh

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Aligarh,  An FIR has been lodged against more than 60 unnamed women in Aligarh for allegedly staging protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The police said that the protest organised by the women was in violation of Section 144 which was imposed in the district at that time. Anil Samaria, Circle Officer (CO) of Aligarh Civil Lines, said, “Some women tried to stage a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Population Register, in violation of Section 144.

An FIR has been registered against 60-70 unknown women and we are starting the process of identifying them.”Protests broke out in different parts of the country, including Uttar Pradesh, which grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, and Christians facing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh and who came to India on or before December 31, 2014. Aligarh also witnessed violent protests on the issue.

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Punjab to administer polio drops to 33 lakh children

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Chandigarh, Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Sunday launched a three-day pulse polio campaign at Jagatpura village in Mohali district.

More than 33 lakh children of less than five years across the state will be administered polio drops as part of the National Immunization Day drive.

After administering oral polio vaccine drops to children, the minister said the government is making all efforts to protect children from more and more diseases and emphasized that all vaccines under the programme must reach each and every child.

He said during the current drive more than 50,000 health workers, anganwari workers, nursing students and volunteers will visit houses, slums, brick-kilns, railway stations, bus stands and other places to vaccinate children. The last case of polio was reported in 2011 in West Bengal. Punjab has not seen a case of polio since 2009

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Kashmiri Pandits urge Shaheen Bagh protestors to back them too

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New Delhi, Kashmiri Pandits plan to descend on the anti-CAA protest site in Shaheen Bagh here on Sunday afternoon to highlight their own plight for the last 30 years after forcible ouster from the Valley, as well as seek support for their cause.

The move comes after protestors announced ‘Jashn-e-Shaheen’ — an evening of poetry and songs — on January 19 to celebrate the spirit of the protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

A section of Twitterati and the Kashmiri Pandits equated the event as a “celebration of the genocide of the Kashmiri Hindus”.

Satish Mahaldar, a Kashmiri activist, said: “The protestors at Shaheen Bagh announced to celebrate Jash-e-Shaheen, on a day when the Kashmiri Pandits faced exodus from the Valley. We will make sure that does not happen. We will visit the protest site at 5 p.m. to observe the exodus day.”

The community will urge the protestors to also raise their voice for the welfare of the Kashmiri Pandits and support them.

Shaheen Bagh has become a hub of anti-CAA protest for over a month now, with protestors demanding repeal of the CAA for its alleged discrimination against a particular community.

Kashmiri Pandits stress that before voicing support for a community that is in majority in most of the countries covered under the CAA, the Shaheen Bagh protestors must voice support for a community within India that has faced trouble for so long but lacked voices of support.

Mahaldar, a part of the Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitation team for Kashmiri Pandits, said: “Let us observe the exodus day at Shaheen Bagh today (Sunday), because if the protestors can raise their voice for a community left out under the CAA, they must also support our voices and for our return to our native places.”

The Twitter handle of Shaheen Bagh protesters later clarified that the January 19 event had nothing do with the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley.

“False information is being spread to create discord and attack the spirit of fraternity that anti-CAA protests stand for,” the handle tweeted

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