Kolkata: Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, minced no words when asked about National Register of Citizenship (NRC), National Population Register (NPR) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In one go – he labelled the recently passed law and the proposed implementation of NPR and NRC as a crazy, inhuman idea.
“It’s a crazy, inhuman idea to have them implemented here. They are discriminatory, and hence are against the India Constitution, which provides that there should be no discrimination against any Indian citizen, irrespective of the community, caste or class he belongs to,” said Sen, when asked about controversial citizenship act being implemented in India.
Sen, said so while interacting with the press, in Kolkata’s Asiatic Society, where he released a report – Living World of the Adivasis in West Bengal, at the Asiatic Society. The report was a collaboration between the Society and Pratichi.
When asked about the repercussion of NPR and NRC on the Adivasi population of India, he said, “When talking about documents, then why just the Adivasis, even I don’t have a birth certificate. Neither did my parents have, nor did my grandparents. So, it will affect all, not just the Adivasis.”
Making it clear that he was to speak about the Adivasis and tribals, he politely turned down a question fielded on the recent police attack on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia. He said, “This is not the place and time to talk about it. Some other time.”
However, when asked about India, clinching the fifth position as the fifth largest economy, he said, “It is not surprising. India is a bigger nation than France and the UK, so its total transactions will be higher than these countries. There definitely, is nothing in this report to be proud of.”
When quizzed about the position of the Adivasis in “New India”, he first said, with a dry laugh, “First tell me, what you mean by this New India?” He, then added, “I find nothing new in this ‘New India’. I would have been happy had something new been done. The Adivasis, till date, are being deprived of their rights. Only promises are being done and not delivered to this particular community, not just in West Bengal, but across India.”
When quizzed, if the Adivasi, should refrain from learning the modernity of the developing world, at the risk of losing their identity, he said, “They should embrace modernity and strike a balance with their heritage, else a lot would be lost.” Sen maintained that staying away from the development would push the community further down, which would eventually lead to greater deprivation.
Also present at the Society were a young group of researchers who had worked with Pratichi and Asiatic society to do the field research for the report released by Sen. Talking to eNewsroom, Biplab Tudu, a post-graduate student from Vishwa Bharti University said, “When we were researching in the interiors of Bengals, we witnessed how these tribals are being used by political parties to suit their agenda. Leaving the Santhals, to a certain extent, all the Adivasis are on the verge of losing their ethnic identity. It’s a scary idea for me, as I too am an Adivasi.”
On being quizzed about the Adivasis being used able to produce the valid documents during the NPR survey, Tudu said, “None will be able to produce the documents. The Adivasis, have been denied education and financial development since longs. The promised ‘money or schemes’ simply don’t reach these people, they disappear, on their way.”