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Assam’s Citizen Register Raises Concern of U.N. Human Rights Expert

Assam, a state of 33 million people known for its lush tea estates, has for decades been racked by violence between indigenous tribes and settlers.

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Assam
A woman, whose name is left out in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft, stands in a a line to collect forms to file appeals at a NRC Sewa Kendra (NSK) in Guwahati, Aug. 11, 2018. VOA

Three United Nations human rights experts expressed “deep concern” Thursday over a controversial citizens register in India’s Assam state, warning it could inflame ethnic tensions in an already fractious region.

A new draft Register of Citizens (NRC) in the northeastern state announced in July left off four million people, leaving them potentially stateless and facing an uncertain future.

Critics say it is the latest move by the right-wing party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bolster India’s Hindu majority at the expense of minorities. India will hold a national election next year.

assam
Bakrapara, Assam

The policy was introduced by the state government, which is controlled by the same BJP party in power nationally.

“We are… seriously concerned about the lack of clarity regarding what will happen to those left out of the finalized NRC,” said a joint statement from the UN special rapporteur on religious freedoms, Ahmed Shaheed, the rapporteur for minority rights, Fernand de Varennes and an expert on arbitrary detentions, Seong-Phil Hong.

“There is a risk that persons not part of the NRC could become stateless, be at risk of deportation, or be subject to large-scale migration detention,” they said.

The deadline to provide the necessary documents to be included on the register has been set for December 31.

Assam
Indian Muslim men shout slogans during a protest against tensions in India’s northeastern state of Assam, in New Delhi, India, Aug. 8, 2012.
Source:VOA

The current register includes only those who were able to prove they were in the state before 1971, when millions fled Bangladesh’s war of independence into the state, and their descendants.

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Assam, a state of 33 million people known for its lush tea estates, has for decades been racked by violence between indigenous tribes and settlers.

“It is feared that this entire process is increasing inter-ethnic tensions in a region that has already experienced a tumultuous history of identity-based conflicts,” de Varennes said. (VOA)

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India-Pakistan Trade Suspension Leaves 2,500 Labourers Unemployed

The report says these daily wagers from rural areas of both the sides of Wagah and Attari border are stressed due to trade suspension

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According to a report of 'Express News', around 1,000 labourers of Pakistan and 1,500 in India, who used to haul the trucks on both sides are now unemployed after trade was suspended between the countries. Pixabay

The India-Pakistan trade suspension amid increasing tension over Kashmir issue has left at least 2,500 labourers unemployed at Wagah and Attari border.

According to a report of ‘Express News’, around 1,000 labourers of Pakistan and 1,500 in India, who used to haul the trucks on both sides are now unemployed after trade was suspended between the countries.

The report says these daily wagers from rural areas of both the sides of Wagah and Attari border are stressed due to trade suspension.

Labourers, India, Pakistan
The India-Pakistan trade suspension amid increasing tension over Kashmir issue has left at least 2,500 labourers unemployed at Wagah and Attari border. Pixabay

“We have not earned anything for the last one week. All our small savings are exhausted. We used to earn Rs 1,000-Rs 1,500 per day by loading/unloading the trucks,” a labourer is quoted as saying.

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The coolies at Wagah railway station too are unemployed following suspension of Samjhauta trans-border train, the report said. (IANS)