Post-NRC Assam is in for a number of positive and negative changes on many a burning issue, and one of the most prominent Lethal Combination among the likely negative changes is ‘terror design with a renewed vigour’. That Assam has been a ‘breeding ground’ for jihad doesn’t need any more evidence to prove. It’s a proven fact, and the recent conviction of 19 jihadis, including three from Assam, by the NIA Court, Kolkata bears the latest testimony to this. Against this backdrop, the publication of the final NRC has its far-reaching ramifications in Assam and its neighbouring states. Infiltrators from erstwhile East Pakistan and Bangladesh over the years were never welcomed by the people of Assam nor of its neighbouring States even as such infiltrators comprise bulk of the manual work forces in all these States. As and when some indigenous organizations in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram took to ‘chase-foreigners-away’ drives in their respective states most of such workers showed PRCs (permanent residence certificates) issued from Assam, where the issuance of PRCs (other than educational purposes) has been banned since the first term of the AGP government at Dispur (1985-1990), to prove themselves as Indians. Can the oldest political party of the nation that had been in power at Dispur for most of the tenures blot out its ‘mockery’ of the ban on issuance of PRCs in Assam from the political history of the State? In post-NRC, lakhs of such infiltrators can display their ‘names figuring in the NRC’ with their chest puffed up in pride during any ‘anti-foreigner drives’ in the neighbouring States of Assam. They have got a strong foothold now.
However, all are not fortunate enough to get berths in the NRC published in Assam. The over 19 lakh NRC applicants declared ineligible for inclusion in the citizenship register also include a section of genuine Indians, including some indigenous people of the State. Since infiltration from Bangladesh has always been a continuous process and a number of applicants have been declared ineligible for inclusion in the NRC, Assam is far from being free of illegal foreigners, so are its neighbouring states. Dispur will make a terrible blunder if it takes lightly the recent hint, nay warning, from the Sadou Asom Goria-Moria Deshi Jatiya Parishad that ‘an indefinite number of illegal immigrants did not apply for the inclusion of their names in the final NRC, apprehending being caught... all such illegal immigrants have got blended with the population in minority-infested areas, and if they are not nabbed by the State government now they may indulge in antisocial and illegal activities, inflicting heavy casualties on the indigenous people of the State’. Call it a hint or a warning, jihadis and a section Lethal Combination of the indefinite number of illegal Bangladeshis staying in Assam do have an affinity with one another, maybe, because of their common ethnicity or faith. And this affinity is fraught with making a ‘lethal combination’ by the two with the sole aim of dealing a lethal blow to Assam, and India for that matter. First, apart from hidden political agenda, the prime reason for a Bangladeshi commoner to enter Assam illegally, in all likelihood, is to be off to greener pastures here. By virtue of nature’s bounty, the State has fertile and arable lands and sars amidst indigenous people who are mostly shy of hard or manual works. Second, the sources of earning of the illegal Bangladeshis staying in Assam are set to shrink now as they will not have any document supporting their Indian citizenship status to show while being driven out from the neighbouring States of Assam. However, people of Bangladesh (if any) or East Pakistan origin who have made it to the NRC have a valid citizenship document to show. We can hope that the day is not far when the indigenous organizations, as well as the government of Assam, will carry out awareness drives in society to reject illegal Bangladeshis as manual or other workers Lethal Combination as it will be easier to separate them now because of the NRC. Third, hunger pangs have every reason to make such illegal Bangladeshis fall prey to jihadis. Once stung by the jihadi doctrine and trained in guerrilla warfare (already a section in the State has turned jihadis), such illegal Bangladeshis or a section of them may turn troublemakers in carrying forward jihad in India.
The government and its intelligence agencies are aware of the situation. The major task ahead is separating the wheat (Indians) from the chaff (illegal Bangladeshis staying in Assam). It is a difficult task, but not an impossible one. The intelligence network of the largest democracy in the world should have answers to all such threats or problems. However, the good will of this great democracy is often questioned as to why it has kept the Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam and the entire eastern sector still wide open for such infiltrators and cross-border criminals. Isn’t it the mother of all problems – infiltration for greener pastures and jihad?