How Safe are Indigenous People?
Going by media reports, it is clear that the NRC update exercise in Assam is not without anomalies. As is the reported case, one person from Morigaon district could make his way to the first draft of the NRC despite he being declared a foreigner by a foreigners tribul. The verdict of the foreigners tribul was affirmed by the Gauhati High Court too, but then the foreigner – obviously an illegal Bangladeshi – could enter his me in the updated NRC. If this is the case, where is the question of any security for the indigenous people of Assam?
But perhaps many will ask: who is indigenous in Assam? My answer, as a layman, is simple: anyone who was in Assam at the time of Independence, regardless of religion and mother tongue, is an indigenous person in Assam in the political sense though it may not be so in the ethnic sense. But political sense is far more important than ethnic sense, practically.
Secondly, anyone who has acquired Indian citizenship after Independence by following the due process of law or got himself/herself turalized as Indian citizen in Assam is an indigenous person here, again in the political sense.
There is no need for any hi-fi intellectual semirs and conferences to decide who is indigenous — this is my basic point.
The debate is essentially about Indian citizens in Assam versus the illegal Bangladeshis settled very well in Assam. When we realize this, all rrow-minded thoughts will evaporate and we may then have a peaceful and flourishing Assam.
In fact the real question is: how safe are the indigenous people of Assam, given the rate at which illegal Bangladeshis still continue to swell in our State?
We have seen the report of a foreigner, med Md Ali Ahmed, from the Lahorighat area of Morigaon district, being in the list of the first draft of the updated NRC published on December 31 last year. How is this possible?
Assam NRC Coorditor Prateek Hajela says that the updated NRC will be free from any error. How is he making this assurance, given that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh find it so easy to get their mes registered in the updated NRC? We are fed up with such claims when we know that illegal Bangladeshis have built huts of different kinds to shelter their huge families across the char areas beside the Brahmaputra as well in our precious tural marks and xatra lands.
The government led by a son of the soil seems to have made only false promises to come to the rescue of the sons of the soil of the State without any concern at all for their safety and security.