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Citizen group to mobilize public opinion on NRC

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 Aug 2016 12:00 AM GMT


SILCHAR, Aug 20: The update of NRC which has reached its fil stage has been caught in the coil of controversy over the categorization of citizens as ‘OI’ and ‘NOI’. It has been brewing ever since the report came out about the categorization which the state coorditor sources attributed to the directive of the Registrar General of India (RGI) issued on July 2, 2015. Of course, Prateek Hajela, state coorditor of NRC Assam, has been coming out with clarifications almost every day in regiol and tiol dailies that on this categorization, no genuine citizen should have any cause of concern. But, the clarifications notwithstanding, Bengalis, Hindus and Muslims, are apprehensive for obvious reasons.

Once the fil draft is published, the far reaching outcome of categorization has various implications. Their fear is further compounded by the fact that according to NRC Seva Kendra sources here, hundreds of cases of doubtful documents have been detected and cases are also being filed against the persons on the wrong side. Citizens’ Right Preservation Committee (CRPC), central committee, led by its president Nripendra Chandra Saha, chief advisor Hafiz Rashid Choudhury, secretary general Sadhan Purkayastha and secretary Soumitra th, is now on a mission in the three districts of Barak Valley to interact with the citizens of all hues and seek their opinion about the course of action to be adopted to safeguard those who might become victims and have to suffer after being branded as Bangladeshi.

Eminent advocate Hafiz Rashid Choudhury said, in fact, update of NRC has become a tri polar process with the involvement of Supreme Court of India, Registrar General of India and the NRC State Coorditor. Strangely enough, as he stated in a meeting with the citizens of this town today, RGI has denied it has issued any such directive to categorize ‘OI’ and ‘NOI’. The Supreme Court of India has been quite specific on the most raging issue of tea tribe being given the ‘OI’ status. Rather, Hafiz Rashid Choudhury, who sought clarification on it, was made to understand that the ‘OI’ status to tea tribe would depend upon the total satisfaction of the registering authority concerned.

The impression gathered from the deliberations was that the directive on ‘OI’ and ‘NOI’ smacks of a design, totally unconstitutiol and unlawful. Apart from the fear-psychosis among the Bengalis on categorization, another area of concern is ‘D’ voters. Questions are now being raised why should the descendants or dependents of persons branded ‘D’ also not be included in the NRC? It has however been clarified by Supreme Court, as pointed out by Hafiz Rashid Choudhury, if Foreigners’ Tribuls clear such persons from the slur of being ‘D’, their mes could easily be included in the NRC. In order to give protection to the minority migrants from Bangladesh, the Central Government has moved a Bill in the Parliament to amend the Citizenship Act of 2003. On the suggestion of the Members of Parliament, the Bill has been sent to a 30 member Select Committee for consideration. It is expected to be placed in the winter session of Parliament. It is also significant that 2 Notifications were issued by the BJP led Union Government on September 7, 2015 and January 16, 2016 which allow the victims of religious persecutions to seek shelter in India to stay without any valid documents. It was also proposed to issue 7 year long term visas to the minority migrants. It was argued in the citizens’ meet would they float in the air for long 7 years?

After all the discussions and exchange of views at the meeting, it has been decided to form a joint committee from this valley to explore the options of mobilizing public opinion for mass protest and also to explore legal battle in the Apex Court by forming a legal cell. It has also been decided to meet some MPs of the Select Committee for bringing about necessary amendment in the Bill to be placed before the Parliament for the protection of Hindu Bengalis. CRPC team will also hold similar citizens’ meet at Hailakandi and Karimganj for broader consultations and consensus.

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