From India News Network (INN)
New Delhi, January 12: Joint Statement by Disability Rights Organisations/Activities.
We, disabled citizens of India and their representative organisations declare our unequivocal opposition to the discriminatory NPR/NRC/CAA.
We view the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 as being violative of the fundamental principles of the Indian Constitution. The preamble, citizenship provisions (Article 5 to 11) and the section on fundamental rights in the Indian Constitution underline the fundamentals of equality and non-discrimination. The CAA is not a mere change in the statute but is a law that seeks to fundamentally alter the character of the Indian Republic. Indian Citizenship flows from the Constitution of India that grants it as a Fundamental Right. A right cannot be Religion Specific or Country of Origin Specific.
We, see the CAA, the NPR and the NRC as intricately interconnected, where the NPR will be clearly feeding into the development of the NRC.
We are apprehensive about the questions related to parents’ date and place of birth that have been added to the NPR. Many of us, disabled, who for a variety of reasons have been abandoned, dislodged from our homes, homeless, stay in segregated colonies, or are permanently housed in institutions would not be able to provide many of the details asked for in the questionnaire, apart from backing it with valid proofs.
We are also worried, as after the enumeration, the information will be crosschecked with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to verify the individual’s biometrics. Experience shows that the problems of mismatch of AADHAR generated biometrics has deprived lakhs of poor and disabled of their entitlements. Additionally, lakhs of disabled have not been able to enroll for Aadhar due to a variety of problems.
We are also concerned that after Aadhaar verification, once the data is entered into the Local Population Register, and the Local Registrar marks anyone of us as “doubtful” for any reason, we will be forced to undertake umpteen trips to the concerned offices (which will doubtlessly be inaccessible and pose multiple hurdles) with proof of citizenship. Many disabled people do not even have birth certificates leave alone the details of previous generations.
We saw during the Assam NRC, that no document that proves our identity—birth certificate, Aadhaar, Voter ID, PAN card, or passport was by itself accepted as a proof of citizenship. Errors in spellings and their mismatch also leads to problems. Additionally, the person trying to prove citizenship, will also have to provide proof of the status of parents’ citizenship. For all this we will be made to run from pillar to post.
We have experienced severe difficulties and insurmountable hurdles even in procuring disability certificates. Procuring additional certificates in an entirely disabled unfriendly environment means putting us to immense hardships and mental trauma.
As organisations working on the issue of disability and people with disabilities, we are also equally concerned about the serious and long-term mental health issues that the process of NPR/NRC/CAA is already having and is likely to have, on all concerned residents of India.
We therefore reject the discriminatory CAA. We call for a complete halt to the NPR/NRC process.
We pledge to stand united.
We extend our unflinching support and solidarity to the various movements that are going on against the CAA/NPR/NRC exercise.
We reaffirm our faith in the Preamble of the Constitution, which we pledge to read on January 26, 2020:
We, the People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens
Justice, social, economic and political
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and to promote among them all
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, DO HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
1. Muralidharan, General Secretary, National Platform for the Rights of the
2. Kanti Ganguly, General Secretary, Paschim Banga Rajya Prathibandhi
Sammelani, West Bengal
3. S Namburajan, General Secretary, Tamilnadu Assn for the Rights of All
Types of Differently-Abled & Caregivers
4. O Vijayan, General Secretary, Differently-Abled Welfare Federation, Kerala
5. Rishikesh Rajli, General Secretary, Haryana Viklang Adhikar Manch
6. Adivaiah, General Secretary, Vikalangula Hakkula Jathiya Vedika, Telangana
7. Appala Naidu, Vikalangula Hakkula Jathiya Vedika, Andhra Pradesh
8. Rangappa Dasar, General Secretary, Karnataka Rajya Angavikalara Mattu
9. Salil Debbarma, General Secretary, Tripura Rajya Prathibandi Sammelani
10. Srikishan Ahirwal, Convenor, Madhya Pradesh Viklang Adhikar Manch
11. Convenor, Delhi Viklang Adhikar Manch
12. Dayabhai Gajera, Gujarat Viklang Adhikar Manch
13. Subhash Gupta, Jharkhand Viklang Morcha
14. Lakshadweep Disabled Association
15. Banamali Dhupal, Platform for Rights of Disabled, Odisha
16. TMN Deepak Nathan, President, Dec. 3 Movement, Tamilnadu
17. Shampa Sengupta, Director, Sruti Disability Rights Centre, Kolkata
18. Seema Baquer, Lawyer & Cross Disability Consultant, Delhi
19. Nipun Malhotra, Disability Rights Activist, Delhi
20. Dr. Satendra Singh, Disability Rights Activist, Delhi
21. Gautam Chaudhury, Kolkata
22. Dr. Sunanda K
23. Radhika Alkazi, Disability Rights Activist, Delhi
24. J.P. Gadkari, Disability Rights Activist, Bengaluru
25. Vaishnavi Jayakumar, Disability Rights Activist, Chennai
26. Poonam Natarajan, Former Chairperson, National Trust
27. Sai Padma, President, Global Ability in Disability GLOBAL AID
28. Bhargavi Davar, Bapu Trust, Pune
29. Meenakshi Balasubramaniam, Disability Rights Alliance, Chennai
30. Sudha Ramamoorthy, Chennai
31. Iftikhar Md Zia, Chennai
32. V Sunder, Chennai
33. Bhavana Botta, Chennai
34. Adv. Subhashchandran, Delhi
35. Ratnaboli Ray, Kolkata
36. Lakshmi Narasimhan, Social Worker/Consultant in Mental Health, Chennai
37. Saravana Raja, Founder, Mind Matters Circle, Chennai
38. J T Jennifer Mathew
39. Rajiv Rajan, Executive Director, Ektha, Chennai
40. Kavitha Krishnamoorthy, Managing Trustee, Kilikili, Chennai
41. Arman Ali, Disability Rights Activist, New Delhi
42. Sheeba Abidi, Social Worker, Delhi
43. Shameer Rishad , Convenor, Javed Abidi Foundation
44. Vinta Nanda - Independent film maker
45. Dr. Vandana Gopikumar, Co-founder The Banyan & BALM, Chennai