CACHAR NEWS

Civil rights committee plans mass convention against NRC update process

Special Correspondent

Silchar, June 23: In view of the fact that the process of update of NRC and the ever changing statements of state coordinator Prateek Hajela have created lot of misgiving and a sense of fear in the minds of linguistic and religious minorities, Nagarik Adhikar Raksha Samanvay Committee, Cachar district committee, has planned mass convention on June 27, besides sustained movement, pointed out Prof Niranjan Dutta, president of the Committee. It is known that publication of the final draft is now a matter of time, though June 30 has been fixed as the deadline.

Samanvay Committee has noticed how the people of different non Assamese groups including Bengalis, Manipuri, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Hindi speaking, Naga, Hmar, Dimasa, Khasi, Reang and other tribes have to face serious difficulties in testifying to their various documents to prove their citizenship. Besides encountering physical and mental harassment, they have also been subjected to financial problems in rushing to different and distant NSK destinations not only across Barak Valley but also beyond its boundary to other districts. Those who have to go to Brahmaputra Valley for family tree verification have faced yet another problem of language since they could hardly and correctly answer to the queries of the Assamese LRCRs.

The fate of these unfortunate applicants is quite unknown despite their being genuine Indian citizens. Most shocking, Prateek Hajela under the pressure of aggressive chauvinism has been issuing newer and newer directives. Citing specific instances, Prof Dutta referred to the directive ofMay 1 and May 2 to LRCRs which said affidavits bearing incorrect spelling of names have to be cancelled and all the certificates issued one year after birth are to be treated as ‘weak documents’.

Another directive says if the government record does not have the original copies of voter ID cards then the applicants concerned cannot claim citizenship on their strength since these will be counted as weak documents. More surprisingly, another directive says as there is no state departments related to citizenship certificate and refugee card, such documents will remain inadmissible. Samanvay Committee expressing concern at these arbitrary and whimsical directives of Prateek Hajela calls them unconstitutional, undemocratic, illegal and irrelevant. The objective behind such directives is to deprive the non Assamese people of their right to citizenship.

Moreover, these directives contravene the judgment of the Supreme Court which specified that any old documents in possession of the applicants can be treated as a proof of citizenship. There is no question if their original copies are with the government or not. Besides, public evidence has also been accepted as a proof to establish credentials. But, the state coordinator has his own way of functioning for whom even the directives of Supreme Court have no meaning. He has also given the signal that those who came to Assam before March 24, 1971 will not find their names on the final draft.

Madhusudan Kar, secretary, Samanvay Committee, has called for united stand for sustained movement to fight against the design to deny citizenship to non Assamese people. There is also a move to frustrate the passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, he pointed out. It is on the basis of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2003 that the victims of religious persecution in Pakistan taking shelter in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab have been accorded citizenship. But, there is no minimum human consideration for the persecuted people of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. Samanvay Committee has called upon all the tribal and non tribal groups to come under one umbrella and participate in the mass convention to be held at Narsinghtola Ground here on June 27 in order to build up unified struggle against the sinister design being hatched in the name of NRC update.