Harsh Mander (left) at a seminar in Mumbai. (file photo)
Former IAS officer and human rights activist Harsh Mander on Tuesday said he would officially declare himself as a Muslim if Parliament passes the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Mander also said he would refuse to submit documents for the national register of citizens (NRC) exercise.
"I will finally demand the same punishment as any undocumented Muslim- detention centre & withdrawn citizenship. Join this civil disobedience," he said in a tweet.
After over seven hours of heated debate, the Lok Sabha passed the Bill at the stroke of midnight by a division of votes with 311 in favour and 80 against. The Bill is likely to be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Earlier in an interview with Sada Times, Mander said the Citizenship Amendment Bill and National NRC would revive "memories and anxieties of the partition".
Mander accused the BJP of carrying out the national NRC for only Muslims after protecting those from other communities through the CAB.
"Leave aside the politics and the legality questions for a moment. Just the lack of compassion about what are you doing to millions of our poorest people. how can the state create something like a catastrophy which does not seem to have any end.
"BJP's game plan will be to first create a pathway for protecting people of every other religious identity except Muslims through the CAB and then have national NRC. Effectively what you are saying is there is a going to be a national NRC for Muslims. That is destructive of everything that we believe in as Indians," he told Sada Times.
Cleared last Wednesday by the Union Cabinet, the Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis — it leaves out Muslims — who entered the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan until December 31, 2014.
Mander is also among the forty "concerned citizens" who moved the Supreme Court on Monday seeking review of its Ayodhya judgment.
In 2018, Mander resigned as the Special Monitor at the National Human Rights Commission, saying there was “no constructive role” for him to play.
Mander said the NHRC had asked him to submit an independent report on the “conditions of persons deemed to be foreigners in Assam detention camps”. Mander said after submitting his report, he had sent several reminders to the NHRC seeking details of action taken on it, but had not received any answer.
In 2017, Harsh Mander started Karwan-e-Mohabbat as a show of solidarity with victims of mob lynching across the country. Mander and 35 people including social workers and academics toured Assam, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Delhi, Shamli, Mewat, Rajasthan and Gujarat, meeting families of victims killed in mob violence.