Who is ‘Nagrikta’? The newborn girl who found mention in PM Modi’s Ramlila Maidan speech

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Published: December 23, 2019 2:41:26 PM

On Sunday, PM Modi referred to a refugee settlement in north Delhi's Majnu Ka Tila, where some hundreds of families, who came from Pakistan, have settled down.

Nagrikta, Nagrikta news, who is Nagrikta, citizenship bill, citizenship act, majnu ka tila, pakistan refugees, refugee settlement, modi nagriktaThe family members of the daughter who was born just days before the bill was cleared by Parliament. (ANI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a scathing attack on the opposition parties including the Congress for spreading misinformation about the Citizenship Amendment Act. He sought to quell the fears raised by a section of people saying that the amended law has nothing to do with Muslims residing in India. “It (law) is not to take anybody’s citizenship but to grant citizenship,” he said to a huge crowd at Ramlila Ground. He then went on to explain who will benefit from the citizenship law and why it should not be objected by ‘right-thinking’ people.

The Prime Minister said that the citizenship law will benefit refugees who had to flee Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to protect their lives and dignity in three Islamic nations. “What is the life of a refugee, what is the pain of leaving their homes without any fault, who can understand this better than Delhi,” he said. Taking one such example, PM Modi referred to a refugee settlement in north Delhi’s Majnu Ka Tila, where some hundreds of families, who came from Pakistan, have settled down.

He said that these people were happy. “They are happy to a level that a family named its daughter Nagrikta (which means citizenship) after the citizenship bill.” After PM Modi’s mention, The Indian Express reached out to the family members of the daughter who was born just days before the bill was cleared by the Parliament. The family members too attended the mega Sunday rally of Prime Minister Modi.

Speaking to IE, Dayal Das, the grandfather of the daughter, described his years-long ordeal in Pakistan and said: “Exploitation by feudal lords and zamindars was a major reason behind our decision to move (from Pakistan to India). The inability to properly celebrate festivals like Holi and Diwali, resistance to cremations, and forcible conversion of girls compelled us to take this decision.”

A native of Pakistan’s Sindh province, Das entered India six years ago with his extended family and has since been staying here as a refugee. According to the report, Das spent the initial years in Delhi’s Bijwasan before moving to Majnu Ka Tila in 2015. Dayal Das is now the ‘pradhan’ of the settlement comprising around 700 families at Majnu Ka Tila, the report said.

Just days before the government tabled the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament, Das became a grandfather to a girl on November 24. After the bill was passed, the family named the child ‘Nagarikta’, which means citizenship. The amended citizenship law seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

The act sparked massive protests across the nation because it excluded Muslims. The opposition parties called it ‘discriminatory’ citing religious invocation while granting citizenship, which the Constitution doesn’t allow. However, the government justified its move saying the Constitution does allow the ‘reasonable classification’, which means the rule of equality applies when two people are equally placed — in Pakistan, the minorities are not at par with Muslims — so no question of violating any law.

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