Why should a bofide citizen apply again for NRC update, asks students body
From Our Correspondent
Silchar, April 28: The members and supporters of the All Cachar-Karimganj-Hailakandi Students’ Association (ACKHSA) staged a protest demonstration before the office of the Cachar Deputy Commissioner Gokul Mohan Hazarika here today against the “flaws” in the ongoing process of updating tiol Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
A memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister of India, rendra Modi, was submitted, urging him to intervene into the ongoing NRC update process and ensure that no bofide citizen is harassed.
The ACKHSA said that as per the instructions of the Supreme Court of India, the NRC updating process has begun in the state and it should be completed by January 2016. “But, neither the Supreme Court nor the Registrar General of Citizen has issued any guideline for NRC update. It is the state government which has framed the guidelines in an ‘whimsical and arbitrary’ manner,” the students’ body pointed out.
As per the guidelines, 1951 NRC and the electoral rolls of 1971 have been made the basis for the NRC update. Besides, 16 documents have been listed, one of which has to be produced by a person to qualify as an Indian citizen.
The Association has raised the issue as to why an existing citizen of the State should again apply for his me to be enlisted as an Indian citizen; as such rules are prescribed for the noncitizens to apply for Indian citizenship.
The ACKHSA slammed the Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly, members of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Asom Sahitya Sabha and other such organisations, for demanding that ‘Khilinjiya’ (son of the soil) does not have to submit any of the legal documents, unlike non-Assamese people, to enlist themselves in NRC update as Indian citizens. “It is discrimitory and must be looked upon at the earliest,” the Association added.
“Assam is a multilingual and multicultural state and as per the Article 29 (I) of the Constitution, a community has the right to protect and conserve its own language, script and culture. But, non-Assamese people like Bengali, tribal communities and tea garden labours who are old inhabitants of Assam are being discrimited by the Assamese people with impunity. The ongoing sty politics by the linguistic majority in Assam is also a part of the process of NRC update and must be stopped immediately. Such discrimition is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution,” said the memorandum.
The memorandum added: “Assam has a unique ‘D’ voter issue which is not found in any other states of the country. Lakhs of people from West Pakistan and East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, have migrated during partition and also fearing religious persecution, to India and have settled in many parts of the country including Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Rajasthan, Panjab, Gujarat, Delhi and other parts of the tion. All the state governments have allotted them equal rights like citizens of India, unlike Assam where they are discrimited on a regular basis and are harassed by the dubious ‘D’ voter list by the administration.”
The Association requested that the ‘D’ voter issue should be resolved before the filisation of the NRC update. The Association submitted a five point charter of demands which include electoral roll of 2014 and photo identity cards provided by the Election Commission of India should be the base year for NRC update since it is based upon the electoral list of 1951 and the ‘D’ voters are thus automatically excluded from the list.
Other demands are: “The ‘D’ voter issue should be solved and for maintaining impartiality in the process of renewal of the NRC update, the Centre’s deputed neutral observers should be appointed.”
The memorandum was signed by the advisors Rupam ndi Purkayastha, Niranjan Dutta and Siddhartha Sengupta, convenors Biswajit Deb, Dilip Baidyakar and Saidur Rahman among others.
The copies of the memorandum were also sent to the Home Minister of India, Registrar General of India (NRC), Chief Election Commissioner of India, Governor and Chief Minister of Assam, and MPs of Silchar and Karimganj constituency.