EDITORIAL

Protecting the objectors

NRC
Representative image

 

It is a matter of grave concern that a number of persons across the state have received threats after having lodged objections against suspected Bangladeshi infiltrators whose names have allegedly entered in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC). According to newspaper reports, most of the persons who have received such threats after filing objections are members of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU). The AASU is one organisation which has been relentlessly fighting for the protection of Assam from the onslaught of swarms of infiltrators from neighbouring Bangladesh, irrespective of whether they are Hindus or Muslims. The AASU in fact has been engaged in this mission since 1978 when the authorities had for the first time discovered that several thousand Bangladeshi infiltrators had enrolled themselves as Indian voters in the electoral rolls of the Mangaldoi Lok Sabha constituency that year. While Assam had witnessed unprecedented influx from Bangladesh and erstwhile East Pakistan, certain forces including prominent political parties have been working overtime to scuttle the AASU’s efforts to get the infiltrators detected and deported. The pilot project for NRC itself was stalled by an organisation called All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) which was born in the middle of the AASU-led agitation of 1979-85 with allegations that a very prominent Congress leader and former chief minister had helped its formation to sabotage or oppose the AASU. This newspaper has been, for a long time, reminding the people that while infiltration from erstwhile East Pakistan and present-day Bangladesh is part of a larger design of making Assam part of a greater Islamic nation by merging it with Bangladesh, the Supreme Court of India had unequivocally described Bangladeshi influx as a silent democratic invasion. What the present generation of children and youth of Assam do not probably clearly know is that the demography of the state was not like this before 1971. Though there was influx even in the wake of the Partition of 1947 with large number of people – both Muslims and Hindus – crossing over from the newly-created East Pakistan, such influx continued till the mid-1960s, prompting the then Congress government of Assam headed by Bimala Prasad Chaliha to expel over two lakh infiltrators. While the government of India should have been happy that a state government was detecting and deporting the Pakistanis, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru however was only grossly dissatisfied over the developments. He was so annoyed that he summoned Chaliha to New Delhi and literally rebuked him and threatened him of stopping central funds if such detection and deportation was not called off. Had the Centre then wholeheartedly backed the Assam chief minister in weeding out the Pakistani infiltrators, there would have been no necessity of the AASU agitating and the government actually preparing a fresh NRC today. What is even more disturbing is that while the Congress always worked against detection and deportation of infiltrators, the present BJP dispensation – where in Delhi or in Dispur – is trying to protect the Hindu infiltrators at the expense of the Assamese and other indigenous communities of Assam who would be reduced to a minority in their own state by the Bengali-speaking Hindu infiltrators. Thus, it is very important to file objections againt suspected Bangladeshi infiltrators, and the student and youth bodies of all the indigenous communities of Assam, as well as the various literary and socio-cultural bodies like the Asam Sahitya and Bodo Sahitya Sabha should have all filed objections in large numbers against the infiltrators. At this juncture, as the suspected Bangladeshis have been so emboldened courtesy the blessings of the Congress, AIUDF and various other forces including a section of Assamese-speaking intellectuals, and have started threatening the AASU for trying to protect the indigenous people, the government should provide all protection to the objectors. At the same time, the police should identify and arrest all those miscreants – they are all definitely gangs of Bangladeshi infiltrators – who have threatened the AASU members.