Alive - - Ed­i­to­rial -

The draft of the “Na­tional Reg­is­ter of Cit­i­zens (NRC)” re­leased re­cently in Gauwa­hati, has be­come a bomb­shell with great so­cio-po­lit­i­cal con­se­quences. When it burst, some 40,07,707 peo­ple re­sid­ing in Assam would be made non-cit­i­zens. Two ques­tions are posed as a re­sult of the pub­li­ca­tion of the NRC: How correct is the as­sess­ment? What to do with the peo­ple go­ing to be de­clared non-cit­i­zens.

A lit­tle go­ing back to his­tory will help in un­der­stand­ing the prob­lem. Dur­ing the cruel op­pres­sion of Ben­galis in the East by the ruth­less Pakistan army, hun­dreds of thou­sands of Ben­galis of East Pakistan later de­clared in­de­pen­dent Bangladesh moved into India, es­pe­cially to nearby Assam. Iron­i­cally, the NRC is the brain­child of the Congress who along with Tri­na­mul Congress supremo who then was a Congress leader. How the BJP has brought the JRC cen­tre-stage and the Congress and the TRC op­posed it when re­leased, are all po­lit­i­cal manou­vers as the 2019 gen­eral elec­tion are near­ing.

For­mer Assam Chief Min­is­ter (Congress) Go­goi, while ad­mit­ting the GRC is his baby, says “it was not Hindu, Mus­lim or Chris­tian.” This is not true; three were hardly any Chris­tians and Hindus be­ing mid­dle and up­per class, were set­tled in Delhi, the set­tle­ment be­com­ing posh area later. It is the poor Mus­lims who com­prise the 4 lakhs who do not find a place in the NRC. Of course, three are some blun­ders in the prepa­ra­tion of the NRC when some VIPS are ex­cluded, but Home Min­is­ter Raj Nath Singh says, “It is only a draft which will be cor­rected and don’t politi­cise it.”

But then politi­cis­ing is the only in­ten­tion of the rul­ing BJP in pro­duc­ing the NRC when elec­tions 2019 are fast ap­proach­ing. The game plan is, Hindus are the ma­jor­ity and they re­sent Mus­lim in­trud­ers from out­side and bring­ing the ex­pul­sion of them would be a pop­u­lar is­sue. Al­ready there have been de­mands to send out Ben­gali speak­ing Mus­lims from all other such states such as Delhi.

The op­po­si­tion is against the move, the most vo­cif­er­ous be­ing Ma­mata Ban­ner­jee, the Trinu­mul Congress head and chief min­is­ter of West Ben­gal. But the op­po­si­tion par­ties are con­fused a lot. Most are not against NRC. They are now point­ing out BRC is full of mis­takes and no­body should be de­ported.

But then de­por­ta­tion is the crux of the prob­lem. Bangladesh from where they have come has re­fused to take them back. No In­dian state is will­ing to take the 40 lakh that is the pop­u­la­tion of some of the coun­tries in the world. So noth­ing is go­ing to happen but for the BJP to keep the com­mu­nal caul­dron boil­ing dur­ing the elec­tions.

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