Hyderabad had tried ‘NRC’ 71 years ago, and failed
Original petitioner to seek today 100% NRC re-verification
Hyderabad: Junior home minister G Kishan Reddy and other BJP leaders in Telangana have often said there is a need for a National Register of Citizens like exercise in Hyderabad.
With the city set to mark 71 years of its merger into the Indian Union, it would perhaps be apt to remember that Hyderabad had been through one such exercise immediately after Independence. At that time, the state had failed to deport most of the so-called ‘aliens’.
The drive to pick up “foreigners” in Hyderabad on the lines of NRC was taken up after the Police Action on September 17, 1948. Thousands of people residing in the city, including those living for generations, were identified as aliens and kept in detention camps pending their deportation, reveal official documents. In the end, only a small number of people were deported as many countries, including Saudi Arabia, refused to accept them as their nationals.
Though the term NRC was not used then as the concept of citizenship came into being only after the promulgation of the Citizenship Act in 1955, the exercise had all the trappings of NRC. The detainees were kept in camps behind barbed wire and under armed guard. As women and children did not have separate rights of nationality those days under international law, they were declared alien despite being born in Hyderabad, if their fathers or husbands were declared aliens.
Researcher Dr Taylor C Sherman carefully sifted through the Hyderabad documents at the National Archives in UK to dig out details. She also accessed communication between the military administrator in Hyderabad with the Indian government between 1948 and 1950.
Sherman is an associate professor in the department of international history, The London School of Economics and Political Science. Her work revealed that besides Arabs and Afghans, who had settled down in Hyderabad several decades prior to the The
Assam Public Works, an NGO on whose plea the SC ordered the NRC be updated a decade ago, will file another petition in SC on Monday — this time demanding ‘purification’ of the published list of citizens. “My petition will be to seek 100% re-verification of the entire NRC,” said Aabhijeet Sharma, president of the NGO. Police Action, 6,225 people were held in detention camps on the charge that they were Pakistani nationals. Most of whom were later found to be born in British India.
Sherman’s study on citizenship in Hyderabad post Police Action was published in the Modern Asian Studies, a Cambridge University Press journal. It revealed that the Indian government wanted to deport the ‘aliens’ on the advice of military-administrator J N Choudhury. Choudhury had taken over the administration of Hyderabad after its merger with the Indian Union. “But the attempt to repatriate these people floundered on both political and legal shoals. In the process, many were left legally stateless,” she said.
Full report on www.toi.in