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US comedian discredits NRC

The final draft of the NRC, which was published on July 30, 2018, excluded 40 lakh people out of the state’s 3.29 crore people

By Gaurav Das in Guwahati

  • Published 24.03.19, 1:18 AM
  • Updated 24.03.19, 1:18 AM
Hasan Minhaj
Hasan Minhaj The Telegraph picture

After garnering headlines across international news channels, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), though indirectly, has found its way on Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, an American weekly news comedy show currently aired on Netflix.

Minhaj, a stand-up comedian, says the citizenship exercise is Narendra Modi and the BJP’s “vow to strip four million Muslim immigrants of their voting rights”.

The final draft of the NRC, which was published on July 30, 2018, excluded 40 lakh people out of the state’s 3.29 crore people.

The American comedian of Indian origin, in the latest episode that focuses on the forthcoming Indian elections, takes heavy but comical pot shots at the rising Hindu nationalism of the BJP, demonetisation, the RSS, rising unemployment rates and describes the citizenship exercise as “the single largest disenfranchisement in recorded history”.

Without mentioning the NRC, Minhaj says the exercise is the BJP’s ploy to curb the citizenship rights of Muslim immigrants in Assam. He says, “The BJP is trying to strip four million Muslim immigrants of their right to vote in the state of Assam and if the government gets away with it, it will be the single largest voting disenfranchisement in recorded history.”

When The Telegraph asked AASU about the citizenship exercise mentioned on an American weekly news comedy show, AASU general secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said. “This is false propaganda and a result of lobbying on part of some people with vested interests. NRC is a genuine case and what the comedian has said has no grounds and is devoid of facts. The four million excluded, not only comprise Muslim immigrants but also other communities. I suspect some Muslim fundamentalist groups are behind it. The comments made by the comedian are improper and baseless.”

However, there were some who viewed Minhaj’s comments as significant. “The fate of India’s contemporary exercise with citizenship, where Assam seems to be the laboratory, got mentioned on an American comedy show. It shows that the world is looking at how we define and identify ourselves. The show is watching us comically but in the process, trying to convey a serious message,” said Gorky Chakraborty, a researcher and academician at the Institute of Development Studies, Calcutta.

Minhaj, who is also a writer and a political commentator, has done many roles, including that of an actor and a television host. His show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj made its debut on Netflix in October last year.

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