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‘Mahila Samaroh’ in Barak Valley at Silchar also comes under the spectre of National Register of Citizens (NRC)

Special Correspondent

Silchar, July 25: It might have been the biggest ever ‘Mahila Samaroh’ in Barak Valley on July 24 and July 25 graced by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his galaxy of ministers, ministers of finance, fishery, panchayat and rural development as well as housefed chairman, but the burning issue of NRC update and its fall out can hardly take the backseat.

Undeniably, fear and panic has gripped the people of linguistic and religious minorities. The most vocal voice on unprecedented harassment of applicants by ever changing directives from the NRC state coordinator and the well orchestrated protest have come from this Valley on the ground of being discriminated against and dropped from the draft list.

Taking rather a brief departure from his oration on ‘empowerment of rural women through various vocational and professional courses and training for becoming economically self-reliant’ the Chief Minister gauging the simmering discontentment among people did not miss to repeat his usual words of assurance to all not to panic if their names do not figure in the draft. Publication of draft list does not mean the end of all update process.

After the July 30 draft publication, the left out applicants have the opportunity to file claims and objections. If not satisfied, they can approach Foreigners’ Tribunals and still not satisfied, the door is open to go to High Court and finally to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the State government is moving the Centre to amend an important directive of 1964 of the Foreigners’ Tribunals which will facilitate the aggrieved applicant to seek protection. Before the publication of final draft in December 2018, the Centre will be impressed upon by the State for bringing in necessary amendment in the Parliament.

The Chief Minister made yet another significant observation to say that his government is all ready to stand by those who miss out their names in the draft by extending necessary legal advice and aid. Besides, at both the women conclaves at Karimganj and Silchar, he advised the people not to fall a prey to the provocative design of trouble-makers waiting in the wing. He also did not miss to repeat his assurance of treating both Barak and Brahmaputra valleys on equal footing for socio-economic development. Significantly, the Chief Minister was completely silent on the question of Bengali Hindu refugees and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.

Worried at the not so at ease situation post July 30 publication of draft, the State government has deputed a panel of ministers to keep watch on the development in all the districts. Siddhartha Bhattacharya, minister of education, is to keep a watch on the enveloping situation in Cachar while Parimal Suklabaidya, minister of fisheries, is to oversee the development in Hailakandi and Karimganj districts. Last night, the Chief Minister held a review meeting with the Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and other high officials of the three districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi wherein stress was laid on having a hawk eye on the situation, besides carrying on awareness campaign among people not to be misled and misguided by any provocation.

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