The politics of Assam has been vitiated for decades with illegal Bangladeshi migrants becoming de-facto kingmakers and aiming filly to wrest political control in Dispur. After making it to successive voter lists, their eyes are fixed on the tiol Register of Citizens (NRC), presently being updated on the directives of the Supreme Court. If the deadline set by the apex court is maintained, the NRC update process should be over by January 2016 with the fil publication of the updated NRC. The entire process has been laid out in a transparent manner, to be carried out in well defined phases according to a clear schedule. But already the AIUDF has seen a ‘conspiracy’ in this process. The party is supposedly concerned that the Supreme Court guidelines are being flouted by a section of rogue officials involved in NRC update. Its leader Badruddin Ajmal has threatened to move the Supreme Court and complain to the Central government, alleging a deep-seated plot to turn 40 lakh Indian Muslims into illegal Bangladeshi aliens. In particular, a section of officials are allegedly not furnishing the 1951 NRC or voter rolls up to 1971, so as to harass Muslim applicants.
The AIUDF’s allegation is to be taken with a large pinch, if not a shovelful, of salt; it is because Ajmal is speaking with a forked tongue with the mischievous intention to scuttle the entire NRC update process. After all, thanks to a resolute Supreme Court, hopes are at last brightening about determining who is a genuine Indian citizen in a State choking under endless influx of foreigners. But if the revised NRC filly comes about and voter rolls for 2016 Assembly elections corrected on its basis, the system will no longer be easy to hijack as before. And so a sinister move to browbeat officials manning the NRC seva kendras has begun. As of now, the 2,500 NRC seva kendras set up covering all districts, are only doing work of prelimiry ture, particularly helping people locate legacy data. The distribution of application forms for inclusion of mes into the NRC will begin by April end only. The NRC Assam (www.nrcassam.nic.in) website is up and running, with a highly user-friendly online search facility for legacy data. It requires but a little time and patience for genuine citizens to locate the mes of forefathers in the 1951 NRC or voter rolls up to 1971.
It is only in one or two districts that the NRC is nor complete, which Assembly Speaker Prab Gogoi had recently pointed out. But the AIUDF leadership is trying to obfuscate the entire issue by hiding a very crucial point — that only legacy data in 1951 NRC or voter rolls up to 1971 is not the sole requirement for inclusion of me into NRC. The NRC Assam authority has very clearly spelled out 12 other acceptable documents including those relating to land rights, citizenship certificate, permanent residence certificate, refugee registration certificate, passports, government or PSU appointment letter, LIC policy, bank or post office transaction statement, birth certificate and educatiol certificates issued by boards or universities. Under Indian citizenship laws, most of the persons of Bangladeshi parentage born in this country will be regularised as citizens. This is why the AAMSU, which led an agitation against the NRC pilot project at Barpeta and Chhaygaon in July 2010, has this time adopted a cautious wait-and-watch attitude to the NRC update process, pointing out possible hassles illiterate Muslim applicants might face like having certified copies only of mes in 1951 NRC or voter lists up to 1971, changed surmes, or idvertently entered age data which do not match.
Meanwhile, indigenous Muslim organisations of Assam like the Goriya Moriya Desi Jatiya Parishad and Goriya Yuba Chhatra Parishad have forcefully spoken out in favour of an updated NRC. Their demand is that all the descendents of indigenous Muslims who have contributed greatly to the formation of the composite Assamese society, must take their rightful places in the NRC. However, the Bagh Se has put forward some interesting figures to put matters into perspective. According to this indigenous Muslim organisation — out of the 3.2 crore population of Assam, around one-third or 1 crore 10 lakh are Muslim. There were nearly 2.49 lakh indigenous Muslims in Assam in 1901, which increased to nearly 4.48 lakh indigenous Muslims in 1951, along with around 15 lakh Muslims who migrated to Assam in those five decades. All their mes must surely be there in the 1951 NRC. From 1951 to 24 March, 1971, all Hindus and Muslim migrants from Bangladesh to Assam have also been granted Indian citizenship under the Assam Accord. Almost all indigenous Muslims, Goriya-Moriyas, Desi, Maimels, Joloha, Pangals, Bhuiyans, Mazumdars, Chaudhurys and Laskars had made it to the 1951 NRC, and their descendents should have no problem in getting their mes incorporated into the updated NRC. So only those who migrated to Assam from Bangladesh after 24 March, 1971 may face problems. So when the AIUDF unilaterally takes upon the role of representing all Muslims in the State, it is actually playing commul politics. The Bagh Se has castigated Ajmal in strong terms as the spokesperson of Bengali speaking Bangladeshi Muslims who migrated to the State after 1971. Considering the 12 other documents that the NRC Assam authority has stipulated to be acceptable for applying for inclusion into NRC, the AIUDF’s mischievous agenda for political gains becomes crystal clear. It is this conspiracy all other political parties as well as students and peoples groups need to oppose with all might and main.