On July 30, 2018, the final draft list of NRC Assam was released. I showed the list consisting the names of my family members along with my name to my best friend. Instantly, she cracked a harmless joke by saying, “I am Sumo and I am not a Bangladeshi!”
The point is that my friend neither pointed out my religion nor my mother tongue while making that joke. Her joke is legitimate and so is the motive of NRC Assam.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a unique arrangement to list the legal Indian citizens of Assam. It was first adopted in 1951 after the census. To identify the indigenous residents of Assam is what NRC is all about. It does not pertain to an individual’s religion, color and language. The inclusion of the names of genuine Indian citizens who appear in the NRC 1951, or any of the electoral rolls including those people (or their descendants) who has migrated to India from neighboring Bangladesh before midnight of 24th March 1971, is the primary objective of NRC.
As per the official report, names of over 40 lakh people have been left out from the final draft of NRC list. The sole reason being they couldn’t produce the necessary legal documents to get their names enlisted in the NRC. However, they have been given time to prove their identity before the final list is published. None of these people’s name has been excluded owing to their sect, caste or creed. The criteria for enrollment in the NRC list are crystal clear then what is the commotion all about?
Why is the Chief Minister of West Bengal offering such inflammatory and divisive remarks? The influx of illegal migrants is by far the biggest issue in the state of Assam. These people pose an internal security threat of the state as well as the country due to the extremely easy mode of sneaking into Assam from Bangladesh. Well, this illegal bunch of people acted as massive vote banks especially, for the CM of West Bengal and now with the NRC come into full force she is on the verge of losing her voters along with her brain. Thus, Madam Mamata Banerjee is resorting to kindle a civil war with her hateful comments.
Secondly, politicians in our country are very well-trained to convert anything and everything into a religious disparity. They are hugely benefitted by raising a hue and cry in the name of religion. They know exactly where the most emotional and sensitive spot of their precious voters lie i.e., religion. When the news of a minor Muslim girl’s rape and murder can be twisted into a faith-related issue, then the matter of NRC Assam is an easy target for an absurd religious debate.
To add a cherry to the topping, people in Quora in light of the NRC are falsely accusing Assamese people of being Bengali and Muslim haters. I am personally a lover of Kolkata. I admire culturally rich people. The same goes for the case of Muslims. Our neighbors are Muslims. I have a long list of both Muslim and Bengali friends. Back in the day, there may have been cases of conflict in the state of Assam but that doesn’t offer an opportunity to generalize the entire Assamese community.
Above all these, the stand of a few media houses is also alarming. A report by BBC News read as, “India says the process is needed to identify illegal Bangladeshi migrants. But it has sparked fears of a witch hunt against Assam’s ethnic minorities.” BBC further reported, “Activists say that NRC is now being used as a pretext for a two-pronged attack-by Hindu nationalist and Assamese hardliners-on the state’s Bengali community, a large portion of who are Muslims.”
This representation of distorted facts and data is a clear indication of a sensitive world. NRC is not ethnic cleansing. It is not the carrier of war between Hindus vs. Muslims or Assamese vs. Bengalis. It is the process to clearly identify a true and legal citizen of India.
Assamese people are fighting against a war to protect their identities and rights almost every day while the rest of the country is giving them judgmental looks. Everything that is happening post the publication of the final draft of the NRC is bizarre and unacceptable. How many times it has to be made clear that this exercise is against illegal foreigners who are taking advantage of the rights of permanent citizens? Are Pakistani Muslims more illegal than Bangladeshi Muslims? The incessant flow of immigrants is threatening to reduce Assamese people to a minority in their own state. Isn’t that a matter of grave concern? At present, everyone is only viewing this as a problem for the people of Assam. They are clearly undermining the interest of national security. There is a dangerous dimension to this constant illegal migration which is going unnoticed. What if someday the long-cherished design of East Pakistan/Bangladesh makes way into the strategic land links of Assam and sever off the ties of the land mass of the entire northeast from the rest of the country? What are we going to do then? We are already in a lifelong war with Pakistan for Kashmir, are we ready for a war of similar sort with Bangladesh?
Let NRC prevail in accordance with law. Let the process of identification of true and false citizens of India see the daylight. Stop communalizing everything that is related to citizenship. The sufferers know very well how it feels to be robbed (socially and economically) in their own state. Stop passing random remarks without a fair knowledge of the actual subject matters.
Refrain from jumping into wild conclusions based on a tainted news report or a scripted speech by a political leader.
And lastly, our National pledge taught us to treat all Indians as our brothers and sisters…so why don’t you support your brothers and sisters of Assam (not just Assamese speaking people) at this moment of distress?
P.S- You are free to clear your facts on NRC Assam and then decide.