Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has announced that like in Assam, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would be implemented in the state. The Indian Express explains different aspects of the issue.
Why this announcement now?
The Chief Minister on Sunday had gone to meet former chairman of Haryana State Human Rights Commission Justice (retd) HS Bhalla apart from other prominent personalities as part of the BJP’s Maha Jan Sampark Abhiyan. According to Bhalla, he suggested to the Chief Minister that there should be an NRC in Haryana too. “When I was heading Haryana State Human Rights Commission, many times reports about anti-social elements, who may be outsiders, came to may notice. So I suggested that such anti-social elements should be identified,” Justice Bhalla told The Indian Express. After meeting with Justice Bhalla, the Chief Minister had announced implementation of the NRC in the state. But opposition smells political reasons behind such announcement ahead of the Assembly polls.
Will it be implemented immediately?
No. There is no hint that the government is going to implement it immediately. Justice Bhalla says that he will go to Assam to study different aspects of the NRC. After examining the issue, Justice Bhalla may submit a report to the government which may be considered for further action. Currently, it is not known whether any official file has been moved for the same. The model code of conduct for the Assembly polls is likely to be enforced soon, so there is no possibility of its implementation at this stage. But officials close to the CM indicate that the issue can be persuaded seriously in coming years.
What police officials say?
According to officials, nearly 1500 Rohingyas live in Nuh and Faridabad districts of Haryana and the central government is monitoring their activities. “We welcome everybody here but sometime unknown elements can become security threat especially keeping in view Haryana’s close proximity to the national capital,” says a senior police officer.
What do critics say?
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has not raised objections on the proposal as of now, but Swaraj India’s Haryana unit president Rajiv Godara terms the announcement as an attempt to divert attention from issues like unemployment, crisis in farm sector, atrocities on Dalits and women and poor conditions of education sector in the state. “Ahead of polls, the ruling BJP just want to raise emotional issues for political gains,” says Godara, a lawyer by profession.
Panjab University (PU) Senate member Dr Ajay Ranga also says that the government should first provide basic necessities like education and employment. “Assam has different situation because of migration from other countries but Haryana doesn’t face such a problem being a central state of the country. Further there is no threat of terrorism and crime in the state currently. There are already Aadhaar cards and ration cards for citizens in Haryana for identity purposes. In these circumstances, the NRC like exercise, which requires huge funds, doesn’t appear a wise decision for Haryana,” says Ranga, who is from Haryana and teaches in PU’s University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS).
If Haryana government finally decides to implement the NRC in the state, then a card like of Aadhaar may be issued to the citizens. “The process of identification of family units in the state has already been initiated. After completion of this exercise, there will be little work left to complete the process of NRC here,” says an officer.
As of now, the government has not identified which department will issue NRC cards, if it wishes to do so finally. Normally, such issues are handled by Home Department, but domicile certificates, which are meant to refer the place of individuals, are issued by revenue officials in the state. But it is yet to be seen whether the government finally decides to issue one more identity card as there are already Aadhaar cards, ration cards, family cards and farmer cards.