As Assam counts its citizens, the fate of nearly 250,000 people, whose cases are pending in Tribunals, remains in limbo.
Because I speak up I do face backlash. I have been told by authorities to ‘be careful’. I have been threatened with a criminal case and contempt of court. I never take these threats seriously because I know I have never said or done anything contrary to the law.
Aman Wadud is a human rights lawyer, who provides support to people who are at risk of being stripped of their citizenship rights in the northeastern state of Assam.
On 31 August 2019, Indian authorities published the latest version of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a list of local residents of the state of Assam who are considered Indian. Almost 2 million people were not included in the NRC and will now have to prove their citizenship (showing that themselves or their parents were in India before 1971), otherwise they will risk being detained and deported. “The controversial registry, according to local HRDs, may used to target the linguistic and religious minority of Assam.
As a result of his work as a lawyer and criticism of the authorities for not following due process of law during the exercise of the NRC, Aman Wadud has been facing serious threats (both from the authorities and from anonymous users online), harassment, surveillance and stigmatization.