At a time when the process of updating the tiol Register of Citizens (NRC) is nearing completion, there are two principal concerns in the mind of people. One relates to the actual citizenship of the people included in the updated NRC, while the other relates to the possibility of some violence that might result from the mes of a large number of illegal migrants from Bangladesh whose mes might have got into the electoral roll through mischief but might now be missing from the updated NRC. It is a well known fact that a large number of illegal migrants from Bangladesh who are in Assam are exploring all possible ways of getting their mes into the updated NRC with the help of fake supporting documents. It will be recalled that a pilot project for updating the NRC was stalled in 2010 following large-scale violence in Barpeta district that took a toll of four lives. It will also be recalled that the work of updating the NRC was also held up for a few years as a consequence of the Barpeta violence. It is seen that whenever people ask for certain rights that they are not entitled to, they are backed up by political or quasi-political elements who are vociferous about their claims because they too expect to be the beneficiaries of such claims being admitted. The greatest hope of the people of Assam from a properly updated NRC is that it will be totally free of the mes of illegal migrants from Bangladesh and elsewhere who have been trying very hard to acquire Indian citizenship by hook or by crook. The other legitimate hope is that the electoral roll of Assam, which is now crammed with the mes of illegal migrants from Bangladesh and Nepal, will eventually be suitably corrected with inputs from the updated NRC. After all, it will simply not do for the Election Commission to disown any responsibility to correct a rather incorrect electoral roll from the very credible and painstaking work of the updated NRC. Besides, if one wing the government is unwilling to benefit from the painstaking work carried out by another wing, much of the work done by certain government involving the demography would end up by being no more than pointless rituals undertaken at very great cost of public money. A good reason for entertaining such reasoble hopes about the electoral roll being corrected with inputs from the updated NRC is that there so much evidence of the electoral roll being stuffed with the mes of non-Indians. The latest report from the Election Commission is that the number of voters in Assam has increased by 90,259 in a matter of nine months from January this year. The voters list published in January had 20,631,891 voters in Assam. According to the latest draft voters list, there are now 20,722,150 voters in Assam. There has also been an increase of 2,737 polling booths from the January figure of 24,890. Nor can one be entirely confident about the NRC update data being completely safe, considering that on the night of October 15, miscreants were able to break into one of the NRC update centres located near the B.T.College of Lachitgar in Guwahati. The miscreants were able to take a laptop computer which had the family trees of over 900 families, but fortutely, the data of these 900 families had been preserved elsewhere as well.
It is fairly obvious that the vested interests that are hell-bent on sabotaging the work of updating the NRC (even partially if not entirely) will become more active as the date of publication of the updated NRC gets closer. Those entrusted with the work of updating the NRC will do well to bear in mind that among the prospective saboteurs of the good work are also some Congressmen who have now good reasons to be upset about having opposed the updating of the NRC for many years, largely because the opponents of the good work will henceforth be seen as the enemies of the people.