NRC in Assam
The NRC list issued recently by the present government excludes names of over 40 lakh people. If their families are added then this number will be more than one crore. It is being said that most of the 4 million people out of the National Citizen Register are Indian citizens. These include both Hindus and Muslims. Putting such a large number of people in one state of insecurity shows that the duty to prepare the NRC has not been fulfilled properly. It seems that the government was quick to issue an NRC for electoral gains rather than a proper solution to the problem. This essential work of national interest should have been done in a non-political manner. But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership did not act maturity.

The BJP president Amit Shah is presenting the publication of the National Citizen Register as a bravery. The BJP in-charge of West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya has given a statement in the style of attack on West Bengal after Assam. Amit Shah has made an unsubstantiated statement to link the whole issue with national security even in the Parliament. With this kind of irresponsible statements of BJP leaders, the initial balanced statement given by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on this issue has become meaningless. The ruling party and its president should understand that the threat to national security rather lies in their intention of making communal polarisation across the country in the name of the National Register of Citizens in Assam. In fact, the BJP had an eye on this long-standing and complex problem. After getting power at the centre and the state, it has used the Office of the Registrar General of India and the Census Commissioner in such a way that it can play politics of communal polarisation for a long time to come. The BJP's immediate target on the path of communal polarisation is the Lok Sabha elections 2019. The BJP has lost mid-term elections due to the unity of opposition parties in the Hindi region. Therefore it wants to compensate the loss from the Northeast and West Bengal.

Although the work of identifying genuine citizens is being supervised by the Supreme Court, and the court has stated that this list is not final and no action should be taken on its basis. The Election Commission has also said that the National Register of Citizens will not disrupt voter rights of the people. But how can the court prevent the politics on this sensitive issue? While Chief of Army Staff General Vipin Rawat has also intervened there by giving a political statement. In view of the Socialist Party that, it is the responsibility of the leadership of all the parties, including the ruling party. The Socialist Party urges the country's political leadership to ensure that instead of doing vote politics on this sensitive issue, make sure that no single Indian citizen is left out of the National Register of Citizens. Whether it belongs to any religion, caste and state. While preparing the National Register of Citizens, it was the responsibility of the citizens themselves to prove that they are citizens of India, while the United Nations puts the responsibility on the state too. Secondly, the leadership should decide the fate of Bangladeshi citizens living illegally, whether they are Hindus or Muslims, in the light of the Indian Citizenship laws and the provisions of the United Nations (UNO).

The Socialist Party believes that India has the right to recognise the people who have entered the country illegally. If possible, send them back to their country, if not possible, then consider granting them permits or giving citizenship. The provisions made in the Indian Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2014 only allowed to give citizenship to non-Muslims, but not to Muslims. India is a member of the United Nations. The goal of the United Nations is to eliminate the statelessness of citizens from the world by 2014. If such a large number of people will be made stateless then this will create an international problem. The excluded population is 10 percent of Assam state. Therefore;, those who claim to be 'Vishwguru' and who chant the mantra of 'Vasuddhaiva Kutumbakam', instead of considering it from a communal perspective, should think in a sensitive human way. Opinion of all the political parties should be considered and the Supreme Court should make decisions according to the Constitution and United Nations Charter in order to solve the problem.
Dr Prem Singh
President, Socialist Party (India)
Mob : 8826275067

Plight of GKCIET Students
Gani Khan Chowdhury Institute of Engineering and Technology (GKCIET) is a technical institute founded in 2010 under the aegis of the central government, and has seen such eminent visitors as former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and former President Dr Pranab Mukherjee. It was started with a unique modular course structure of 2+2+2 years, with exit points at the end of each of the 2-year modules aimed at benefiting its students through the polishing of their technical and vocational skills. GKCIET began with the promise of certification at three levels, the first equivalent to a school-leaving degree, the second to a technical diploma and the third to a B Tech, with new students able to join or older ones to exit at each juncture. However, all these grand promises proved to be hollow, and we the students of GKCIET have been jettisoned by the authorities, deliberately misled and left to fend for ourselves. In June 2016, when the first batch of students neared their graduation from B Tech rumours were floating about that a degree might not be awarded. Concerned by this, we approached the authorities, who only then deigned to inform us that GKCIET did not, in fact, have any official affiliation and could not, therefore, grant us any degrees. Stunned at this revelation, we asked what was to become of us. We were told that our training, our hard-earned education would not find recognition in a degree through which we could find gainful employment. The lives of hundreds of students were suddenly thrown into disarray, our futures darkened and our careers in tatters, for no fault of our own.

Unable and unwilling to accept this blatant breach of trust, we started a movement demanding the right to affiliation and recognition. Faced with the disaffection of the authorities, we started an indefinite hunger strike, which our authorities ignored as well. Facing brutalities and indifference from the police and the government we continued our justified movement, till finally the State government agreed to take over from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) that had up to that point, supposed to be responsible for GKCIET. After many more backflips and delays, we were informed that the West Bengal Stale Council of Technical and Vocational Education and Skill Development would grant legitimacy to GKCIET and grant our Certificate and Diploma degrees, while the National Institute of Technology (NIT) would mentor GKCIET and offer its B Tech course affiliation. Our long struggle seemed to have finally borne fruit, but in fact our troubles are, to this date, far from abating. Having been delayed significantly in our assessment and admissions processes, we demanded that our examinations be held swiftly to allow Certificate students to move into the Diploma module and the Diploma students to begin their B Tech schedules without losing academic years. At this point we were thrown into yet another bureaucratic tangle, with the Institute claiming that only the Council could hold our examinations. The incumbent Director of the Institute had informed us that as long as the Council did not vest GKCIET with the right to conduct examinations, the authorities could not proceed with them, fearing further complications at a later date. There is also a lot of confusion surrounding the permanent affiliation of the B Tech programme, since the arrangement with NIT Durgapur was only on a temporary basis for a year. Furthermore, it has transpired that two students who had secured jobs in the paramilitary services of the Government of India had not been allowed to join because their diploma structure was not recognised in the service. All this while, we have continued our movement to secure our rights and for our hard-earned education to be recognised through a degree which can earn us gainful employment. We have been treated with indifference and silence by the uncooperative GKCIET administration, the State Council and the MHRD while the police have alternately falsely reassured and repressed our movement. The inhumanity we have faced has extended so far that students who fell ill during the protest demonstrations and hunger strikes were not even provided the use of an ambulance.
The Students of GKCIET

Police Terror in Chharanagar
On July 27, 2018, people in Chharanagar witnessed Ahmedabad Police unleashing most brutal terror they had experienced so far. It was just past midnight, when close to 500 policemen, without uniform or their name badges, went berserk in Chharanagar, a ghetto of the de-notified Chhara tribe. They barged into the Chhara houses, physically assaulted women and children, picked up young men, beat them with sticks and paraded them to the police vans as they continued destroying vehicles parked in the area. This brutal unleashing of state terror continued till close to 5 AM. The Commissioner of Police, when approached on the phone at 4 am, termed this as police action to maintain law and order.

Chharanagar, being a ghetto of the de-notified Chhara tribe, has been at the receiving end of police and persecution for generations now. In this recent incident, more than 150 people have suffered serious injuries and 32 men have been charged with fabricated cases. All the efforts to register cases against the policemen have not been successful so far. The response of Chharanagar to the brutal police repression has been resolute. They have so far responded through art, songs and public protests as they legally challenge the police actions.

Some of the community members from Chharanagar will be in New Delhi on August 8. Making use of this opportunity, the National Alliance Group of De-Notified and Nomadic tribes (NAG DNT) is organising a pubic discussion as a platform for members of Chharanagar to share for the first time, outside Ahmedabad, their live experience of the night of terror. We as NAG DNT also solicit suggestions from the civil society in New Delhi on responding to the police brutality on July 27th.

The speakers include Dakxin Chhara. a resident of Chharanagar and an award winning filmmaker and theatre educator, associated with Budhan Theatre, who has directed 46 plays and 87 fiction and non-fiction films. The most recent award he won was the Best Director for his film Sameer at Queensland International Film Festival; Atish Chhara, an actor associated with Budhan Theatre and a cultural activist who has performed in over 30 plays and 700 shows, and was picked up by the police while he was documenting the police violence—tortured, arrested and released on bail; and Kalpana Chhara, a well-known theatre and film artist in Gujarat, founding member of Budhan Theatre, a recipient of Nari Shakti Award by Kim Foundation, CII Foundation Woman Exemplar Award and Kaleshwari Award for her contribution in the field of Theatre. The discussion will be moderated by Senior Academic-Activist Dr Usha Ramanathan.
Mayank, Vikas
August 1, 2018

Vol. 51, No.9, Sep 2 - 8, 2018