NRC not confined to Assam, creating nightmare in neighbouring states

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Editorial

Thomas Lim
After the publication of the Draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, there was a ruckus in the Parliament, where the Opposition members did not allow the session to function, as they prevented Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Amit Shah from continuing with his speech which he was not able to complete on July 31, 2018. On the following day, the House was adjourned for three times. Meanwhile in the case of Assam and the rest of the North Eastern States, the District Administrations were on high alert fearing a breakdown of Law and Order.
It may be mentioned that just a day after publication of the draft NRC in Assam, political parties and organisations in Assam slammed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for trying to politicize the issue, terming her criticism unjustified as the NRC is neither against Bengalis nor Muslims.

Two former Chief Ministers of Assam too have condemned the motive of Mamata Banerjee, as Asom Gana Parishad leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said that the historical document which was updated and published on July 30, 2018 was not against the Bengalis and the Muslims. He accused Banerjee of trying to use the issue for political gain, which he said is not justified. Mahanta had led the six year long students’ movement from 1979 to 1985, known as Assam movement that sought to detect and deport illegal foreigners in Assam.
Meanwhile Congress leader and former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi slammed Banerjee for her statements on the NRC, advising her to rather concentrate on West Bengal politics. He added that Banerjee should not worry about what happens in Assam. She should be bothered with the politics of West Bengal. “There is no question of harassment of genuine Indian citizens in the name of NRC updation. We are here to protect each genuine Indian citizen from harassment,” he said.
In Meghalaya, where the District Administrations are maintaining a vigilant eye on events, the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) which was anticipating a sea of illegal immigrants who would be attempting to enter Meghalaya had set up a number of ‘infiltration check gates’ in three districts of the Khasi – Jaintia hills.  This exercise had resulted in the pushing back of over 1500 people which the KSU suspects were illegal immigrants who were making a bid to enter Meghalaya on July 31 alone.
The KSU’s infiltration check gates were set up at 20th mile in Ri Bhoi District, Ratacherra in East Jaintia Hills District and Athiabari in West Khasi Hills District on July 31, 2018 following the release of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) by the Assam government.
The highly anticipated final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on July 30, with 2.9 crore names out of the total 3.29 crore applicants in Assam. The names of 40.07 lakh applicants did not find a place in the historic document, touted to be a proof of Assamese identity.  The first draft of the NRC was published during the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 this year, containing 1.9 crore names.
The issue to worry about as pointed out various political leaders across the nation is that it is feared that such checking of Indian nationals, under the Supervision of Supreme Court of India is just an acid test, and might be extended to the rest of the nation. This will only create a lot of panic, as in the case of Assam, even the names of the family members of the Former President, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed were not included in the draft NRC, while there is no hundred percent proof that the infiltrators could not make it into the list.
The same is the case of application of Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC), where infiltrators could easily manage necessary documents and acquire the Voting Rights, while the illiterate, rural poor or weaker sections of the Indian society who failed to produce any documentations of their origin still could not vote for generations.
The nation is already under the dark cloud of mob lynching due to rumours driven through social network where as many as 19 states have been affected, and now with the fear of illegal immigrants after the draft NRC of Assam, they might sneak into neighbouring states and the district administrations in the rest of the nation are now having sleepless nights. If any of the mob or pressure groups and the civil society voluntary takes up the checking without the supervision of the official authorities, this will further led to conflicts as witnessed in the past.
Hence, the Supreme Court and the Government of Assam should immediately come out with scientific method to complete the final publication and also to speed up the claims and revisions of the 40 lakhs names, which will not only ease the NRC exercise, but will also relieve the tension in the nation which has been created by the draft, since this has turned into a national issue.


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