The Meghalaya High Court has urged the Centre to bring in a legislation to allow citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos who come from Pakistan, Bangladesh ad Afghanistan without any documents, PTI reported.
Justice SR Sen said this on Monday while disposing of a petition filed by a person who was denied a domicile certificate by the state government. “I feel the difficulties faced by the residents to get the domicile certificate and the permanent residence certificate have become a great issue today which will have to be examined since the inception of India [Bharat Barsh],” Sen said.
He then talked about there being “no concept of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan” initially as India, “one of the largest country [sic] in the world”, was commanded by “Hindu Kingdom” till the Mughals and later the East India Company invaded.
Pointing out that Pakistan declared itself an Islamic country soon after Partition, the judge said India should have made itself a Hindu country since the countries were divided based on religion. “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 partition are still considered as foreigners, which in my understanding is highly illogical, illegal and against the principle of natural justice,” he wrote.
The judge added that he viewed the current National Register of Citizens process also as defective as “many foreigners become Indians and original Indians are left out, which is very sad”.
A uniform law must be made for all Indian citizens and anybody opposing Indian laws and Constitution “cannot be considered as citizens of the country”, he said. “I make it clear that nobody should try to make India as another Islamic country, otherwise it will be a doomsday for India and the world,” the judge added. “I am confident that only this government under Shri Narendra Modiji will understand the gravity, and will do the needful as requested above and our Chief Minister Mamataji will support the national interest in all respect.”
Justice Sen also criticised the Boundary Commission, the consultative committee appointed at the time of Partition to decide how parts of the subcontinent were to be divided between India and Pakistan.
The commission “did not do any work” and only “drew an imaginary line” to divide India into two pieces, the court said. “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 as somebody’s kitchen is in India and their bedroom is in Bangladesh.”
“I request our beloved prime minister, home minister, law minister and Hon’ble [honourable] Members of the Parliament to bring a law to allow the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to live in this country peacefully and with full dignity without making any cut-off year and be given citizenship without any question or production of any documents,” Sen said in his judgement.
A similar principle should be taken to those who live in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the court said, adding that they may be allowed to settle in India at any point of time and the government may provide “rehabilitation properly and declare them citizens of India”. A similar principle must be adopted for Hindus and Sikhs of Indian origin who are living abroad, the court said.
“This court expects that the government of India 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 from abroad as they have the same right to come to India as Indian citizens,” the judge said.
“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,” he added.