Editorial

NRC mystery in Assam

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/20/2018 11:34:40 AM IST

 Adding another controversy on the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC), a whopping 36 lakh people from Assam who originally applied for the NRC (National Register of Citizens) have gone missing. When the final draft came out, there were a total of 40 lakh people whose names had been excluded from the final draft of NRC. When so many were left out, the Supreme Court ordered resumption to filing of claims and objections in September. However, only 3.5 lakh people have reapplied for their names to be included in the NRC. With three weeks left before closure of claims and objections to NRC, authorities are baffled as what happened to around 36 lakh people whose were supposed to have reapplied? The NRC as it were, arouses much controversy and so when the final draft was published on July 30, 2018 around 40 lakh were reportedly left out. Since then more than 110 days have passed and 36 lakh people have not approached any NRC Seva Kendras claiming to be an Indian with further proof. With less and less number of people coming to the NSK in the last few weeks, NRC authorities believe this figure is unlikely to change a very dramatic change in the next three week. The people in Assam have been confused by the way in which authorities have managed verification of citizenship. Perhaps there are as many as around 40 lakhs people missing. Perhaps it could well be that a quarter of that number cannot produce any valid documents that they have been in Assam for over 12 years or some whose parents were born and brought up in the state. For those who came from across the international border, their predicament is understandable. They will be declared stateless if they fail to produce any valid document(s). For those whose parents or grandparents were from Indian states, they would not be as worried. The current issue of 36 lakh people who had not submitted required documents, is somewhat like that of Nagaland which had consistently maintained the record of highest population growth for decades. Later, the revised census led to reduction by only around eighty thousand. The population had nearly touched 21 lakhs but came down to a little over 19 lakhs. In fact many observers tend to believe that the actual figure should be around 15 lakh or so. The Assam NRC is very crucial since it is a test on the citizenship registry that will also impact the other states in the north east. Left to itself, citizenship should be decided through valid documents. Of course, many illegal immigrants are able to possess documents but it is not confined to Bangladeshi Muslims but also includes Bangladeshi Hindus. The pandering of communal divide in the exercise is unjustified, unwarranted and unacceptable to all Indians. The indisputable fact is that the democratic space for the rights of Muslims has been shrinking in India ever since independence. Today, they may be murdered in broad daylight with impunity. This seems to have affected some Muslims during the preparation of the NRC. Muslims in Assam firmly committed to 1971 as cut-off year to verify citizenship to end the strife. The demand for an NRC gained traction only since then. It will be a dangerous precedent to renege on it and slowly push Assam back into bloody anarchy.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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