EDITORIAL

NRC Affairs

As our front-page story titled “Any guarantee of Bangladeshi-free NRC?” said yesterday, there are now deep apprehensions that the NRC being updated in Assam under the monitoring of the Supreme court might have mes of the very people who the update exercise has sought to weed out. Is it going to be a self-defeating exercise at the end of the day? In our story, we have reported about a person, Md Ali Ahmed, said to be from Lahorighat in Morigaon district who was declared a foreigner by a foreigners tribul whose verdict had also been affirmed by the Gauhati High Court later on, but the mother of all surprises was that the declared foreigner could make his surreptitious way to the first draft of the NRC published on December 31 last year. Our question in our report, “What is the guarantee that this draft (NRC) is absolutely free from the mes of any illegal Bangladeshis?”, has at least two ramifications in the first place. One, the likes of Ahmed Ali, declared as foreigners by the judiciary, have mastered the craft of forging documents in collusion with people who want to shield them for political or pecuniary interests. Assam has no dearth of such people, thanks to the perpetuation of ‘minorities’ vote-bank politics in the me of ‘secularism’ and the huge architecture of corruption that has eaten into the vitals of our society. Two, despite stern directives by the highest court of the land, the indigenous people seem to be forced into being content with an exercise that is apparently meant for their protection from exterl aggression in the form of illegal immigration from Bangladesh but that seems to have lost its actual purpose given the ease with which a person like Ahmed Ali has found entry into the updated list of Indian citizens in the State. This is dangerous, needless to say. But is the so-called pro-indigenous government led by Sarbanda Sonowal, which came to power by amplifying the slogan jaati, maati aaru bheti, awake and concerned?

The fact of the matter is that in the first draft of the updated NRC, a whole lot of indigenous people’s mes are missing while the me of the declared foreigner in question finds mention, which means some sons of the soil have been left out while in their place it is the aliens from Bangladesh who might have had a field day given that Ahmed Ali’s me does find mention and there is no guarantee that more such mes are not in the list. This militates against not just the spirit of the NRC update exercise but also against the sovereignty of the tion, not just Assam. Let us not forget that while abrogating the IM(DT) Act in 2005 – a perverse immigration regime applicable only to Assam until then that made it possible for illegal Bangladeshis to crowd the State and make it their best living and breeding space – the Supreme Court had called the Act “ultra vires” the Constitution of India, implying the Act was unconstitutiol and hence anti-tiol. Even after the scrapping of that notorious immigration law, illegal Bangladeshis continued to throng the State and there was no hope for a secure destiny for the sons of the soil. And what has necessitated the NRC update exercise in Assam alone? Why, it has been undertaken to ensure that the voters list of Assam is free from the mes of foreigners, mainly from Bangladesh who in recent times have shown the temerity to encroach upon not just char areas as before but also our prized tiol parks, such as Kaziranga, and xatra lands. It will also be recalled that the judiciary in the State has already pointed to illegal Bangladeshis having become kingmakers here, backed by their patrons for whom votes weigh far more than the sovereignty and integrity of one’s own motherland.
Will the realities of the day prick the conscience of the Sonowal government and make it summon the will to counter the gravest threat to the very identity and existence of the sons of the soil of the State?
 
A Road that’s a Pool too!
One must visit the so-called service road of the flyover at Jalukbari in the biggest city of Northeast India, Guwahati, to see how such ‘service’ roads look like in a city that is said to be on the rise in view of Assam being projected as the gateway to Southeast Asia, considering the much-vaunted Act East Policy of the rendra Modi government. This newspaper (2 April 2018) has already carried a report on that road with a picture of the road that looks more like a pool, while the drain nearby is much higher than the road itself. What does the story tell us all? One, since VVIPs do not use this road – because they do not have to – there is absolutely no political concern as to what has befallen the commoners who must use the road for various purposes. Two, since there is no such concern, the obvious inference is that we are far behind achieving the goal of being a functioning democracy in the true sense. In a functioning democracy, there has to be such concern; else we are a ba republic masquerading as a democracy. This will not do. And three, it also points to the fact that the basics of development, such as sincere efforts to transform such pools, called ‘service’ roads, to what can really be called roads in civilized societies, are still missing from the grand scheme of things being worked out by the government that has already had to its credit a huge investment drive called Advantage Assam. Do such roads, right on the outskirts of the oldest university of the Northeast, fit into Advantage Assam?