On 1st February 2020, a National Constitution Society Chapter hosted a film screening and discussion on Stop the Boats – the lie of saving lives at sea- a story of asylum seekers and their detention. We screened an abridged version of the movie. Around 30 students attended the event.
Stop the Boats is made by Nicolai Jung and Phil Miller, European journalists. The documentary revolves around the struggles of asylum seekers arriving by sea and the Australian navy’s refusal to allow safe passage. It tells the story of 'Andika' which was attempting to reach New Zealand.
The film screening was followed by an interactive session led by Abhayraj Naik. Mr Naik opened the floor by reflecting on the movie and responded to the issues of refugees and citizenship in the Indian context. He argued that the recent amendments to the citizenship laws violated the Indian Constitution and its values. The Constitution, according to him, is a legal and a political document whose enduring characters cannot be altered even by a majority government.
The audience pointed out to instances from the movie that provoked them and drew parallels to the Indian context. Most of them believed that citizenship and refugee-related laws and protections must not be discriminatory and communal. Laws and policies must be crafted from the perspective of the most marginalised, taking into account the intersectional disadvantages.
The National Constitution Society (NCS) a network of student Constitution Societies across India that aims to create, celebrate and practice India’s constitutional values.