Editorial

People figures

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/6/2019 11:25:54 AM IST

 While the rest of the north eastern states have reacted to the recent National Register of Citizens (NRC) list released in Assam, the fate of a little over 19 lakh people left out hangs in uncertainty.  The aim of the NRC was to separate genuine Indian citizens from undocumented immigrants in the state.  Anyone unable to prove that they or their ancestors had entered Assam before midnight on March 24, 1971, would be declared a foreigner. The state government, in a public notice on August 27, said that those left out of the final list of the NRC can file appeals before foreigners tribunals, which are quasi-judicial bodies that adjudicate matters of nationality in Assam. They would be given 120 days to file appeals. The state said it will provide legal aid to those filing appeals. The tribunals have the power to declare people foreigners and send them to detention centres before they are deported. There are currently 100 foreigners tribunals in the state, but that number is expected to rise sharply in the months to come – 200 in the near future and 1,000 eventually. The role of the Assam tribunals has also come under focus in the light of allegations that many officers were rewarded on the basis of the number of people declared as foreigners. It means the more the better and the lesser the worse. Data from four foreigners tribunals revealed disturbing patterns of bias against Bengali-speaking communities, particularly Muslims. Assam is in the grip of a communal divide between Bangla speaking Muslims and the rest. While the BJP has been accusing Congress of pandering to minorities for votes, the party itself has unabashedly pitched for the majority religious community. The NRC result has put the BJP in a bind. BJP promised that the  40 lakh outsiders would be identified and deported but that looks hollow in the view of the NRC list. The number of people left out stands at less than half of what the BJP promised. Influx into India came in 1971 during the Bangladesh  War, when Hindu refugees fled war torn erstwhile East Pakistan.   It is estimated that around 10 million East Bengali refugees entered India during the early months of the war, of whom 1.5 million may have stayed back after Bangladesh became independent. These refugees remain in India and became the citizens of India and never went back to independent Bangladesh due to economic, fear of insecurity for being a minority there. Interestingly, several reports in the media claim that most of those left out were those who voted for BJP and that they are none too pleased with what has befallen them.   Even in Nagaland the other version of NRC- the  Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland(RIIN)- could also face several hurdles over who is and who is not an indigenous inhabitant, especially in Dimapur. The cut off year for being classified as indigenous inhabitant is December 1,1963 but Dimapur was notified as a tribal belt only in 1979.  Over and above, the point is that the state’s population underwent a reduction in 2011 to 19,78,502 from 19,90,036 in 2001. Earlier, the state witnessed unrivalled and unexplained growth from 12,09,546 in 1991 to 19,90,036 in 2001. The RIIN would be looked upon to put the census figure in perspective and resolve the confusion before proceeding to ILP regime. 

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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