The NRC Draft and Celebratory Sweets

Anjan Sarma (translated by Plabita Baruah)

Even before the start of the Assam Agitation, I was actively involved in the diverse problems burdening the state of Assam through various means, the pen being the mighty companion, as a result of which my dissatisfaction regarding the ‘Assam Accord’ was my first rebellion in ink under the aegis of ‘The Sentinal’  with views similar to the respected Sourav Kumar Chaliha aka Surendra Nath Medhi Sir. The 855 martyrs did not give up their lives for this particular bond called “Assam Accord” nor was setting up of an IIT, a refinery, two universities, the Kalakshetra, the AGP government etc., the main motive behind the Assam Movement. At that time the whole state of Assam was entrapped in a wave of intense sentiment due to which our rebellion, Nibaran Bora’s rebellion, and some others rebellion fell into deaf ears. Nevertheless the result of the Assam Accord is now in front of our eyes. What I am trying to say is that Assam is engulfed is a similar victorious wave now after the final draft of NRC has been out and I am not sure if my words will be taken seriously but here are a few things I would like to point out.
With the advent of the NRC draft even though the situation remains calm in Assam, a lot of eminent personalities and political groups who were forever oblivious of our state started publicizing their vague opinions on the issue in support of the illegal immigrants trying to show their humanity, even comparing the situation to the recent Rohingiya issue of Myanmar and here we are distributing sweets and congratulating the people involved in the NRC finalization process. But the main thing remains that the Assam movement’s objective was not this NRC draft in the same way that 855 lives were not sacrificed for the Assam Accord.
The key thing here is who actually are these  40 lakhs people whose names did not appear in the NRC draft? And whenever this question is raised it is silenced with the reply that the whole process is as per the directions and supervision of the Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court did not prepare the NRC list, nor their employees went from door to door checking the citizens or entering the Data to the processor; the Supreme Court just supervised the ‘Content’ and the ‘Process’.  The truth is that for the process the data entry operators were assigned an amount of Rs 15000 from which Rs 6000 was cut by the IT groups like WIPRO, Rs 4000 went to the pockets of the mediator personals and only Rs 5000 was paid to them.  Just think, 5000 rupees in place of the deserved 15000! I doubt if the Supreme Court knows about this. So, it can be estimated from this little calculation the sincerity level in the data entry of the process or  the various other money related processes that the NRC draft had gone through.  We may get a gist of these scams maybe 10 years later when we will happily forget about the whole thing (In the same way that we forgot that many ministers were once in the Congress party)
Coming back to the 40 lakhs, out of this count there is a fair 6 lakhs among these who includes Biharis, Marwaris, Tamilians, Bengalis etc whose documents are yet to be verified by their respective states. So, omitting that number, the count comes down to approximately 34lakhs. The government is also adamant to provide citizenship to the approximate 15 lakhs Bengali Hindus among these immigrants which further reduces the count to just a mere 19 lakhs. There are also lots of indigenous people in the severe flood affected areas of Assam like Dhemaji who have lost their citizenship documents along with everything else to the yearly floods. So considering these people now the count narrows down to 12 lakhs and a number just 7 lakhs illegal Bangladeshis in Assam is ridiculous. Also after the 2011 census the population of Assam was supposed to be 3,46,00,000 according to the 2% growth per year.  But only 3,29,00,000 people applied for the NRC which means that almost 17 lakhs people wasn’t even considered for the process. And I think these 17 lakhs were not the illegal immigrants, but our own Assamese people, mostly poor and illiterate who was oblivious of the storm called NRC that was going on in the state. So, it seems futile to be celebrating that the NRC draft is out.  We still don’t know how many foreigners coming before 1971 were given citizenship in the name of the Assam Accord and similarly we are also apprehensive of the fact that this list would actually be of some benefit for the state of Assam. And on top of that our Chief Minister, Home Minster and others are keeping on assuring that there is absolutely no need to worry even if your name doesn’t appear on the NRC list. So the people that actually need to worry are us—the indigenous Assamese people of the state. But unfortunately we are not worried; we are busy searching for heroes in the whole process.
By seeing the odds it seems that the day is not far when another agitation opposing this particular NRC draft will spark up. Therefore Mr Hazela or the Supreme Court should see to it that the list of those people that are yet to be verified is published soon so that we can get an actual glimpse of the whole scenario. Until then our celebrations regarding the list or the useless anxiety and chaos created by many mainland Indians is as pointless as the list itself. Very soon we are going to realize that our sacrifices in the Assam Movement were not intended for a list like this.
It is high time that we prepare ourselves for a correct NRC list of the indigenous people only. Also this is the time to vehemently oppose the Citizenship amendment Bill of 2016. Let us see what kind of action the Supreme Court will take regarding this bill or the case given by Mr. Matiur  Rahman. I have stated these facts not to create any controversy but with hope that the historical Assam Movement does not get labeled just as a tragedy in the history of Assam. At the time when we gave our blood and sweat during the Assam movement we were just young people aged 17/18 years and now when we are near our sixties, even though some of us became MLAs and  Ministers,  it breaks our heart to think what we actually toiled for and what fruit we are getting now.  It seems that the seed of the immigrant problem laid by the Congress and given a new direction by BJP has shattered the main objective of the Assam Accord. So if you are distributing sweets for the NRC issue it is just like giving an open invitation for diabetes and nothing more. The 40 lakh issue should neither be a reason for joy inside the state or meaningless debates outside the state. Let time decide the actual truth.

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