Call for papers
Citizenship issues in contemporary India, focusing particularly on the case of Assam
This call for papers seeks to launch a debate about the character and significance of citizenship controversy in contemporary India, by focusing primarily on the case of Assam. More precisely, it aims to shed light on new approaches and dimensions able to capture and explain the relationship (or lack thereof) between citizenship issues and migration, ethnic identity and conflict, and statelessness issues in Assam. We seek papers that critically investigate the theoretical, methodological and/or practical implications of citizenship issues in Assam and their wider implications not just across India but also worldwide, at the micro, meso and macro levels.
In December 2019, the Indian parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that gives non-Muslim migrants who came to India before 2015 from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan a route to citizenship. The Indian government proposed to simultaneously implement a National Register of Citizens (NRC), which separately requires all Indian residents to prove their citizenship to be enlisted. The NRC has now been implemented in the north-eastern state of Assam, where various groups had been pushing for such a register since the 1980s. This process, which concluded in 2019, left out over 1.9 million people, who now stand at the risk of statelessness. Critics have argued that these policies are discriminatory, and violate Article 14 of the Indian Constitution that prohibits arbitrary targeting based on religion. They have also argued that these policies violate the Indian constitution’s commitment to secular citizenship. Critics further suggest that CAA and NRC, both singly and in combination, threaten the vast number of Indians who are illiterate and landless, without adequate documents and vulnerable to state excesses, and that they particularly risk disenfranchising Muslims across India. These developments have important consequences for our understanding of India and South Asia. The issue of citizenship has become the focus of intense political debate, in Assam and across India.
The papers being sought will be collected for a special issue of a journal, to be determined depending on the paper topics. Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
▪ The position of Muslim groups in the ethnic conflicts in Assam and North-east India
▪ The impact of Assam’s NRC on Bengalis and Muslims in the state
▪ The political impact of citizenship policies on the plethora of ethnic and indigenous communities in the region
▪ Political implications of a countrywide NRC on Indian religious minority groups
▪ Legal implications of the NRC and CAA in Assam on the Indian constitutional structure, including federalism and secular governance
▪ Issues of frontierisation and militarisation arising out of current citizenship policies
▪ Historical legacies, resource issues, and power relations which fomented Assam’s ethnic conflict
▪ Role of Indian nation-building project in Assam’s ethnic conflict
▪ International dimensions of Assam’s conflict, including relations with Bangladesh and wider statelessness issues in South Asia
▪ Assam’s NRC from the perspective of migration, citizenship and belonging in the region and beyond
Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit their paper proposal (between 1,000 and 2,000 words) to Dr. Mohsin Alam Bhat ([email protected]) and Dr. Rudabeh Shahid ([email protected]) by July 31, 2020. Authors will be notified by August 15, 2020 about the status of their proposals. The full papers should not exceed 8000 words and should be submitted by October 31, 2020.
For more information on this call, please see the document below: