Expecting a correct NRC for Assam




Is there any use of debates about the voting pattern of Bangladesh-origin Muslims in favour of a particular political party in the recently concluded national elections and an observed increase in their aggressions over the original inhabitants despite enjoying development benefits (including housing, sanitation, electricity, etc facilities) from the Bharatiya Janata Party-led governments in New Delhi and Dispur? How long the people of Assam will participate in such unfortunate discourses as it would result in nothing. Is not the time to demand by one and all a correct National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam with the base year of 1951. The pertinent issue came to the public domain as the Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) insisted on ending such public discussions as early as possible. Expressing distress over the matter, the forum of nationalist citizens based in northeast Bharat argued that the people should not continue killing time with the same old topic of East Pakistani-Bangladeshi migrants. The intellectual forum urged both the Central and State governments to take pragmatic initiatives to identify the illegal migrants in Assam and deport them to their original places. If that is not possible for any reason at this moment, the forum asserted that the illegal migrants should be identified (with the basis of national  cut-off year) and then proportionately distributed across the country.

Assam Accord, signed after six years long historic agitation in 1985, admitted to accept all Bangladesh-origin nationals in the State, who entered before 21 March 1971. The argument was that prior to this year the land was known as East Pakistan and anybody who came from the Islamic republic cannot be sent to a new nation (read Dhaka will not accept and New Delhi had no bilateral repatriation treaty). So it was primarily a problem of the Union government, but the entire burden was imposed on Assam to accept hundreds of thousands of  East Pakistani nationals. Question arises here, what prevented the agitating leaders to request the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (who was present on the occasion) to endorse the accord by signing along with the bureaucrats and agitators. Then it would have been  mandatory to debate in Lok Sabha and probably a fair deal would have been achieved for the native populace of Assam. Moreover, a demand could have been raised to shift a large portion of those East Pakistani turned Indian citizens to other parts of Bharat (following a proportional theory). Assam could have happily accepted its share (maybe one hundred thousand foreigners) and proceed on the path of all round development and steady progress.

The PPFA reminded that the Assam NRC is yet to be endorsed by the Registrar General of India  and hence there are ample scopes for a complete  re-verification of the draft with due legal processes. The NRC draft is also apprehended to include a large number of foreigners’ names with the help of tempered software (allegedly engineered by former NRC State coordinator Prateek Hajela and his associates. Moreover, the updating process was full of irregularities and corruption, as detected by none other than the Comptroller & Auditor General of India. The national audit body identified large scale financial irregularities to the tune of over  Rs 260 crores during the process and it fixed responsibility on Hajela (now retired under VRS) and Wipro limited (which functioned as the system integrator). Meanwhile, it was observed that some motivated elements, including a few mainstream journalists, tried to convince the Assamese community to accept the NRC draft as the fine one, which needs no verification. At least one Guwahati-based television scribe was named and shamed on social media as being a beneficiary to the multi-crore NRC scam, as he tried his best to garner support to Hajela for the tremendous job the technocrat turned bureaucrat had done. The greedy television talk-show host did not bother about the immediate consequence of a fabricated NRC on national security and also the future of indigenous families. The forum genuinely posed a question, if there will be a fair probe into the NRC updation irregularities and  hold the guilty individuals accountable for the serious crime. 


Nava Thakuria is a senior journalist based in Guwahati and has been in the profession for more than three decades. His focus areas remain the socio-political and environmental issues of eastern Bharat. Often his articles are used by various media outlets based in different parts of south & southeast Asia. 



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