'India should have been declared a Hindu country'

Justice S R Sen, in his 37-page judgement delivered on Monday observed this while asking the Centre to enact a legislation to give citizenship to all Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos, who came to lndia from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, without any question or document and cut-off date.

A bench of Meghalaya high court has said since India was partitioned on the basis of religion, should have been declared a Hindu country like Pakistan declared itself as Islamic country, but India remained as a secular country.

Justice S R Sen, in his 37-page judgement delivered on Monday observed this while asking the Centre to enact a legislation to give citizenship to all Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos, who came to lndia from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, without any question or document and cut-off date.

The bench delivered the judgment while disposing of a petition filed by Amol Rana, who was denied a domicile certificate in Meghalaya. It said similar principle be adopted for those Hindus and Sikhs, who are of Indian origin and presently residing abroad to come to India any time and they be considered automatically as Indian citizens.

"Even today, in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos are tortured and they have no place to go and those Hindus, who entered India during the Partition are still considered as foreigners, which in my understanding is highly illogical, illegal and against the principle of natural justice," said the judgment, issued on Monday.

"However, I am not against my Muslim brothers and sisters, who are residing in India for generations and abiding Indian laws, they should also be allowed to live peacefully," it said while requesting the Centre to make a uniform law for all, which must be binding to all. "Anybody opposing the Indian laws and Constitution can not be considered as citizen of the country. We must remember that first we are Indians, then good human beings and thereafter comes the community we belong to," justice Sen's order said.

Calling the ongoing update of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam as 'defective' as many foreigners become Indians and original Indians are left out, the judgment said, "I make it clear that nobody should try to make India as another Islamic country, otherwise it will be a dooms day for india and the world. I am confident that only this government under Narendra Modiji will understand the gravity, and will do the needful," it said.

The judgment is seen as a boost to the NDA's Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 that seeks to offer Indian citizenship to the 'persecuted' religious communities, after a stay of six years. The bill, however, has been strongly opposed by indigenous communities in Assam and parts of the Northeast but has been supported by Hindu migrants living in the region, most of whom having roots in present Bangladesh.  

The NRC 1951 is being updated only in Assam with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date, as agreed in the Assam Accord of 1985. Those submitting documents to prove that they or their forefathers lived in Assam prior to the cut-off date would be declared Indian citizens and those failing would be identified as illegal migrants for deportation. 

The Suprme Court is monitoring the NRC exercise.

More than 40.07 lakh people, out of the total 3.29 crore applicants found their names dropped from the draft NRC, released on July 30 this year. The claims and objections regarding inclusion/exclusion in the NRC is underway. The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the deadline for the same by another 15 days till December 31. 

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