After Assam’s imposition of the controversial National Register of Citizenship (NRC) that stripped about 19 lakh people of their citizenship and threatens to throw them into detention centres unless they can prove otherwise, another Indian state appears to be tightening its borders as well.
The police in Uttar Pradesh have now been asked to identify Bangladeshis and “other foreigners” so they can be deported. In a letter sent out to district police chiefs, Director-General of Police Om Prakash Singh has said this move is “very important” and has to be "time-bound and monitored by senior officials”.
The UP police have even been ordered to comb through train stations, bus stands, airports and slums on the outskirts of their districts, pull up people who seem suspicious and verify all their documents. They have also been asked to track down government employees who may have helped these “foreigners” living illegally in India make fake documents to stay here. Construction companies have been instructed to keep tabs on their labourers since many of them are migrants. There are also plans to keep track of the fingerprints of those identified as Bangladeshis or foreigners.
This comes just a month after the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath praised the NRC for being essential for “national security”, and added that he would launch a similar drive in his state.
It’s important to note that the NRC in Assam is unique to the state, and is aimed at sifting illegal immigrants who came from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971—the day the Bangladeshi Liberation War started—from the Indian citizens. But it looks like the ripple effect of this drive is already being felt across the country. With the government planning to roll out a pan-India version of NRC, known as National Population Register, by 2020, it appears that crackdowns of this nature are only going to get more frequent.
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