Migration, contested temporalities and violence in India: from border killings to National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Act

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This chapter connects India’s colonial past and nationalist present, and uncovers time and its relation to migrants, border crossers and internal ‘others’. First and foremost, the chapter highlights the proliferation and militarisation of external (Indo-Bangladesh) borders. The Indian Border Security Force have maintained the policy of shoot to kill against undocumented people and also those living in the borderlands, and chapter argues that deliberate state sanctioned killings violently stops migrant time, erases their past and steals their futures. The chapter then explores the tide of Hindu nationalism engulfing India and the implosion of border/ing. The anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and xenophobic discourses have led to polices and practices that are designed to exclude, illegalise and push undocumented people in existential immobility where there is no forward movement of time, and the present is erratic and future uncertain. This is done via the creation of the National Register of Citizens and asking people to furnish legacy documents to prove their connection to India. The analysis shows the ways in which this exercise was discriminatory, time wasting and marred with inconsistencies/errors – a form of bureaucratic violence – and it ended-up excluding nearly 2 million people. These internal ‘others’ are at risk of detention or detainable. Some have died in detention and few have committed suicides due to the fear of banishment – and their time has been stopped due latent consequence of bordering policies/practices. The chapter ends by highlighting the emerging resistance movement against the citizenship regimes and calls for greater support and cooperation from transnational activists.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStealing Time
Subtitle of host publicationMigration, Temporalities and State Violence
EditorsVictoria Canning, Monish Bhatia
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783030698973
ISBN (Print)9783030698966
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2021

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