As the date for publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) is drawing closer, certain groups, sections and individuals across the country and beyond are increasingly becoming active in order to derail the entire process. Going by what a section of the media – more particularly a section of the print – both in India and abroad has been writing about the NRC, it is becoming clearer by the day that some quarters want the NRC process to be stalled, even at the last moment. There has been a deliberate, well-drawn and systematic campaign to project the Assamese community as anti-Bengali and anti-Muslim. There has been a dirty campaign to also project the Assamese as a brutal and uncivilized race which is out to oust Bengali-speaking people, particularly Bengali-speaking Muslims from the state. There is a dirty conspiracy to build up a global opinion against preparation of a flawless NRC in Assam. There is also a campaign to tell the people of the world that names of Bengali-speaking people – particularly Bengali-speaking Muslims – are being systematically struck off the NRC under preparation, and that all these ‘Indian’ people would be then thrown out to Bangladesh. Watching closely, one would find that a section of the so-called ‘national’media – newspapers and TV news channels operating from the national capital – has been only carrying stories about the ‘plight’ of the ‘oppressed’ migrant Muslim, least bothering to tell their readers and viewers that Assam has been facing illegal migration since Partition of India in 1947. These newspapers and TV news channels – and of course the numerous news portals that have mushroomed in recent years – have simply chosen not to tell their readers and viewers that volumes of reports on infiltration from erstwhile East Pakistan and present-day Bangladesh have been submitted in Parliament by successive governments in the past several decades, and that the Supreme Court has also written at length, in several landmark judgments, about how a systematic influx from the neighbouring country has led to a kind of silent demographic invasion of Assam. A recent ‘analysis’ written by a person introduced as political editor of a New Delhi-based magazine in a well-known US-based newspaper for instance has clearly played mischief by saying that India was creating its own Rohingyas in Assam; that ‘four million residents of Assam were effectively stripped of their nationality’ through the NRC, and so on. This is only one example. Yet another example is a web portal – again based in the US – which has sought to whip up a campaign not just against the NRC, but also against the governments in Delhi and Dispur, and finally the Assamese people. Most editors of New Delhi-based newspapers too have failed to understand the infiltration problem of Assam. This has become clear from the fact that none of these newspapers, TV news channels and web portals have ever bothered to carry news stories on how illegal migrants have systematically encroached upon tribal blocks and belts, as also upon reserved forests and national parks, land belonging to the Vaishnavite xatras and other indigenous religious institutions, as also upon land demarcated as professional grazing reserves (PGR) and village grazing reserves (VGR), and so on. This section of the media has probably vowed to carry only one side of the story, and that too not the correct side of the story. What is disturbing is that a couple of journalists from Assam too have joined this camp and started writing offensive pieces, in the process throwing to the air basic concepts of fairness, truth, telling the story of the oppressed – in this case the indigenous communities of Assam, because the immigrants have pushed the indigenous communities to the wall. What also emerges from these reports is that a sizeable section of newspaper and TV news channel editors of the country is not aware of the history of India’s Northeast, the history of how Assam was sought to be projected as a part of Bengal the history of how Assamese language was sought to be projected as a corrupt form of Bengali and was removed from its official status from 1837 to 1873, how the founders of Pakistan had wanted to include Assam in East Pakistan, how Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi and other leaders of the Assam Congress fought tooth and nail to prevent Nehru from gifting Assam to Pakistan, and so on.
Also read: NRC and Relevant Alarming Aspects