TUR takes CAA to Supreme Court

Blatant design to create divide among tribal communities

SHILLONG: The Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA). It was filed on January 13.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, member of TUR, Mantre Passah, said, “Our challenge is based on the arbitrariness of CAA and its attack on the freedom of religion and privacy of individuals. We are being represented in the court by a group of lawyers whose knowledge of the constitutional jurisprudence is well respected in the legal circles.”
The lawyers are Gautam Bhatia, Vrinda Bhandari, Malvika Prasad and others.
He said that there are countless numbers of petitions on CAA and might have gone up to 100.
He said that TUR decided to challenge the Act because it attacks the fundamental rights of tribal communities in the context of their persecution in neighbouring countries and the Khasi-Pnar, Garo and other smaller tribal communities here in Meghalaya bordering Bangladesh.
Passah said that the Act fails to take into account the realities of the inhabitants
of those border regions, many of whom follow indigenous religions and do not identify as being part of any of the six selected religious communities.
“This is a blatant design of creating a divide among the various tribal communities, especially those who follow the indigenous traditional belief system like the Niam Tynrai and Songsarek followers among the Khasi-Pnars and Garos, who do not fall under any of the religions mentioned in the CAA”, he said.
He said that the Act fails to take into account this fact in addition to being arbitrary and motivated by religious discrimination.
Passah pointed out that the original Citizenship Act, 1955 was enacted on the same principles as the Constitution, and no religion-based requirements or conditions were imposed for acquisition of citizenship.
He urged the SC to strike down the CAA which he termed as “unconstitutional”.

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