Guwahati: The Meghalaya high court has urged the Prime Minister, Union law minister and the Parliament to bring a legislation to allow citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, without any documents.

Justice SR Sen on Monday has given the 37-page judgement, while disposing of a petition filed by Amon Rana, who was denied domicile certificate.

The judgement stated that Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos are tortured even today in the three neighbouring countries and they have no place to go.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to make Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to give Indian citizenship.

There was no mention of the Bill in the court order.

The Meghalaya High Court has directed the Centre’s Assistant Solicitor General, Meghalaya high court to hand over the copy of the judgment to the Prime Minister, Union home and law ministers for their perusal, and asked to provide necessary steps to bring a law to safeguard the interest of the communities.

They may be allowed  to  come  at  any  point  of time  to  settle  in  India  and  the government  may  provide  rehabilitation  properly and  declare  them to be citizens  of  India. 

A similar principle is to  be  adopted  for  those who are Hindus and  Sikhs  of  Indian  origin  and are presently  residing  abroad -  to be able to come  to  India  at  any  time they  like  and  they  may  be  considered automatically  as  Indian  citizens.

The Court expects  that  the  Union government will take a conscious decision to  protect the  innocent Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos who  have come  from  Pakistan,  Bangladesh  and  Afghanistan  and  who  are  yet  to  come as  well, as  they  have  the  same  right  to  come  to  India  as any other Indian  citizen. 

Though the  Boundary  Commission  was  appointed  at  the time of partition,  it did  not  do  any  work  and  drew  an imaginary  line  to  divide  India  into  two  pieces. 

A  burning  example  is  that  if we  visit  the  border,  it  is  difficult  to  understand  which  land  falls  within  India and  which  is  in  Bangladesh. It is as if  somebody’s  kitchen  is  in  India  and  bedroom  in  Bangladesh. The Indo-Nepal  treaty  should  also  be  taken  into  consideration.

“Therefore, I can simply say that the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos residing in India which ever date maybe, they have come to India are to be declared all as Indian citizens and those who will come in future also to be considered as Indian citizens. 

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. I  also  request  the  Government  that  a  uniform law  should  be  made  for  all  Indian  citizens  and  they  are  bound  to  abide  the law  of  the  country  and  constitution.    

Anybody  opposing  the  Indian  laws  and constitution,  they  cannot  be  considered  as  citizens  of  the  country. We must remember  that  first,  we  are  Indians,  then  good  human  beings  and  thereafter comes  the  community  we  belong. I  hope  and  expect  that  Government  of  India  will  take  a  decision  to save  these  deprived  people  as  discussed  above  who  have  been  forced  to  part with  their land,  properties  etc with  a  human  touch . 

It  has  also  been  heard  from  the  Members  of  the  Bar  that  the  detention camp  at  Assam  where  people  are  kept  at  the  tag  of  foreigner  were  under handcuff  and  living  in  inhumane condition. India  achieved  independence  through  bloodshed  and  the  worst sufferers  were  the  Hindus  and  Sikhs  who  had  to  leave  their  forefather’s property,  birth  place  with  tear  and  fear  and  we  will  never  forget  that. 

However,  I  will  not  be  wrong  to  mention  that  when  the  Sikhs  came,  they got  the  rehabilitation  from  the  Government  but  the  same  was  not  given  to the  Hindus.  Therefore,  it  is  not  correct  that  Indian  independence  is  by  nonviolence,  but  it  is  through  violence  wherein  the  Hindus  and  Sikhs  in  terms of lakhs,  sacrificed  their life,  property,  land  and  livelihood.     

The  demarcation  of  the  boundary  between  Pakistan  and  Hindustan  as well  as  the  Referendum  is  totally  unfiltered  and  our  political  leaders  were too  much  in  a  hurry  to  get  the  independence  without  considering  the  future generation  and  interest  of the country,  thus,  creating  all  the  problems  today,” Justice SR Sen said.

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Stating that it was ‘highly illogical, illegal and against the principle of natural justice’, the Meghalaya High Court said Hindus who entered India during partition are still considered foreigners.

The judgment has polarised public opinion both for and against it.