Barak Valley braces for legal battle

NRC fallout

Special Correspondent

Silchar, July 15: With the deadline approaching fast for the publication of final draft on July 30, the sense of fear and panic has been mounting among the members of religious and linguistic minority of Barak Valley, nay the whole state of Assam. Various organizations like North East Linguistic and Ethnic Coordination Committee (NELECC, Barak Upatyaka Banga Sahitya O Sanskriti Sammelan (BUBSOSS) as well as Citizens’ Rights Protection Committee (CRPC) have been vocal in raising voice of protest against the frequently changing guidelines issued by the NRC Coordinator. Such directive to seva kendras have added not only the sense of fear but also utter confusion. Moreover, questions have also been raised how far the final draft will be above board notwithstanding all the unimaginable harassment to the applicants, highlighted in the media from time to time.

Indications are that a huge number of applicants will have their names missing from the draft. A signal about that has come from the report of the fact finding team led by S R Darapuri, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh and IAS officer, who toured different areas of Assam from June 26 to July 1 to find out all about the NRC update. The NGO ‘United Against Hate’ team found glaring discrepancies and described the whole exercise in the name of NRC ‘an one sided affair’, ‘unconstitutional and undemocratic’. It put the number of left out from the final draft at 35 lakh and did not rule out the possibility of a volatile situation in Assam. The State government is also prepared to face the enveloping post final draft deadline. As a high level police official said 100 companies of central security forces are ready and if need be more forces would be available.
Along with the security arrangement by the state, All Assam Bengali Hindu Association (AABHA) has geared up to take legal battle for those whose names will not find place in the final draft despite their being eligible for protection under the Centre’s Notification dated September 7, 2015 and under democratic and constitutional provisions. Dharmananda Deb, leading advocate of Silchar Bar Association, said the AABHA floated legal aid team comprising 20 advocates will be ready to extend all necessary legal help to the applicants dropped from the draft list. Deb pointed out AABHA has at the same time spread its signature campaign across Barak Valley for pressing the Centre for early passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 in the Parliament.
The legal aid team has also put in motion a 24 X 7 helpline number 6000702042 on which any applicant not finding his or her name in the draft list can contact for necessary legal assistance. Dharmananda Deb said the signatures in thousands that would be collected during the campaign for Citizenship Bill 2016 would be digitalized. This would be sent to the President of India, Prime Minister of India and Home Minister of India with a memorandum, detailing the plight of the Hindu Bengalis and the necessity of the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. The team of lawyers on the legal aid cell of AABHA is Sudhasatta Choudhury, Ratnangkoor Bhattacharjee, Tinku Baidya, Mriganka Bhattacharjee, Ranju Deb, Purnima Bhattacharjee, Jyotirmoy Nath, Dilip Kumar Das, Sandipan Nath, Shibajyoti Choudhury, Panchami Nath, Satan Ghosh, Basudev Ghosh, Biru Ranjan Nath, Bhaskar Deb, Nilanjan Bhattacharjee, Swarnali Ghosh, Abhijit Chakraborty, Ratnadeep Paul and Dharmananda Deb with their contact numbers.