GUWAHATI, July 31: Terming NRC as a foreigner-free legal document of Indian citizens, former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has said that NRC of the State can be a model for rest of India. He is one of the signatories of the Assam Accord.
Throwing light on the NRC and its historical background, Mahanta said here on Tuesday: “The NRC of 1951 of the State had three copies – one each with the district and police administrations, the Congress party and the Jamiat-Ulama-e-Hind. However, in some districts copies of the NRC have been found missing. July 30, 2018 is a historic day for Assam. It’s the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) that sowed the seed of NRC update in Assam in 1980 by sending a letter to the Central Government with the demand for update of the NRC, 1951. The AGP coming to power, in 1986 we did try for NRC update only to face opposition from a few tribal organizations of the State. The support from the Central Government was also not forthcoming at that time.”
The former Chief Minister has thanked the AASU, the State Government and its employees, the Central Government and the Assam Public Works (APW) for their contributions to an updated NRC being a reality in the State. He recalled the Assam Agitation martyrs, rape victims and those who sustained injuries in the historic movement as the sacrifices made by them have come to fruition now. “However, the names of some indigenous people of the State are missing from the complete draft NRC. Such errors have to be rectified. In fact, Assam NRC can be a model for rest of Indian States. All States of the country should have their respective NRCs. It’s not against Bengalis, nor against Muslims. It’s a foreigner-free legal document of Indian citizens.”
Criticizing the Congress, Mahanta said: “The Congress is maintaining double standard on NRC. The Government of India now has the staggering responsibility of deleting those names that haven’t appeared in the updated NRC from the voters list.”
Throwing light on post-NRC situation, Mahanta said: “With the NRC being given the final shape, there’s no need for the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. This Bill will only make the NRC irrelevant. This Bill, if allowed to get its passage, will make the indigenous people of Assam minority on their own land. The AASU, the AGP, the AJYCP, the Axam Xahitya Xabha (AXX) and others should defeat the move to pass the Bill.”
Mahanta has also opposed the move for issuance of long-term visas to people from Bangladesh. “The administrative mechanism in Assam is not so strong that it can push back people staying in Assam with long-term visas as soon as their visa periods expire,” he said.
Former minister Biraj Kumar Sarma, another signatory of the Assam Accord, was also present at the press meet.