17, Sep 2019 | Zamser Ali
The entire debate around outsiders and foreigners has been based on the long held belief that Bangladeshi infiltrators are threatening the demography and culture of Assam. But now as per a community wise break-up of the over 19 lakh people excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), nearly a third of the people left out of the list are actually non-Bengali people, many of whom belong to indigenous tribes and ethnic groups.
Shockingly thousands of Karbis, Rabhas, Sonowal Kacharis and even Ahoms have been excluded from the final NRC!
As per sources in the Intelligence Branch of the Assam government, the break-up is as follows:
Bengali Hindu 6.90 lakh East Bengal origin Muslim 4.86 lakh Gorkha 85,000 Assamese Hindu 60,000 Koch Rajbonshi 58,000 Goria Moria Deshi 35,000 Bodo 20,000 Karbi 9,000 Rabha 8,000 Hajong 8,000 Mishing 7,000 Ahom 3,000 Garo 2,500 Matak 1,500 Dimasa 1,100 Sonowal Kachari 1,000 Maran 900 Bishnupriya Manipuri 200 Naga 125 Hmar 75 Kuki 85 Thadou 50 Baite 85
Now that the final NRC has been published, and 19,06,657 people have been excluded from the final list, CJP’s campaign has become even more focused. Our objective now, is to help these excluded people defend their citizenship before Foreigners’ Tribunals. For this we have already started conducting a series of workshops to train paralegals to assist people at FTs. We will also be publishing a multi-media training manual containing simplified aspects of legal procedure, evidentiary rules, and judicial precedents that will ensure the appeals filed against the NRC exclusions in the FTs are comprehensive and sound, both in fact and in law. This will assist our paralegals, lawyers and the wider community in Assam to negotiate this tortuous process. For this we need your continued support. Please donate now to help us help Assam.
A total of 19,06,657 people were excluded from the list. This means 6,70,000 or one-third of the people excluded are neither Bengali Hindu or Muslim, nor Assamese Hindu. But look at these numbers closely, they total to 14,77,520. Which means approximately 4,30,000 people are still unaccounted for in this break-up. According to expert sources who have access to information from the NRC office, these unaccounted people are none other than people from North, South and Western India, a bulk of them Hindi speaking Hindus from North India.
This goes against the popular narrative, developed and spread by the Assam movement that lakhs of ‘foreigners’ have secretly entered and settled in Assam. The original figure quoted by them was 40 lakh Bangladeshis. This figure kept on increasing to 60 lakhs, 80 lakhs and even 1 crore with the passage of time. Right-wing organisations including as many as 100 big and small groups allegedly backed by the Sangh Parivar that have been active in the region for decades, subsequently added more communal fuel to this ethnic conflict by popularising the parallel narrative that all Muslims living in Assam are Bangladeshi migrants and infiltrators.
The RSS and BJP which were active participants in the Assam Movement against foreigners, 1979-1985, managed to give communal twist to Assam Movement, leading to over 500 Bengali Hindus and over 5000 Muslims being killed by the supporters of the Movement. Thus the ultra-communal and ultra-chauvinist combined forces have been attacking the Muslim minority in one side and Bengali speaking Hindus on the other. The continuous attacks, physical and mental, have been humiliating for these groups of people. The updated NRC, which is waiting for the final nod from Supreme Court has been eye opener for all, about the myth of Bangladeshi infiltration in Assam.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that out of the total persons dropped from final NRC, at least 8 lakh people have at least one person from their ARN or family tree, if not their entire families have been included in the final NRC. These people have been dropped due to minor discrepancies in their names, titles, ages or acceptable linkage documents. Of these, at least 2 lakh are minor children, whose both parents’ names have included in final NRC, but the child has been excluded without any proper reason.
Meanwhile, a fresh campaign of misinformation has been kickstarted by the communal-chauvinist combine in the state. While a former Chief Minister of Assam declared that there are 30 lakhs of illegal Bangladeshi are there in Assam, he wonders how the number has come down with only 19 lakh. They also quoting former Union Home Minister Indrajit Gupta and former Minister for State, Home Affairs, Union of India who declared that there are 60 lakhs and 40 lakhs of illegal Bangladeshi residing in Assam. But the final NRC has dumped cold water over their divisive agenda.
All people included in the NRC have had to jump through various bureaucratic hoops and a variety of checks and balances. While the ‘Original Inhabitants’ got some exemptions in terms of submitting certain documentary evidence, Bengali Hindus or Muslims were not offered these relaxations. Their names have been included only because of documentary evidence, not at any one’s behest.
According to Nandu Ghosh, CJP Volunteer Motivator for Lower Assam, “The target group of NRC was either Bengali speaking Hindus or Muslims. The continuous support and effort of various social and rights organization, have alleviated their suffering of maximum possible number of people. Because of this, excluded persons among Bengali speaking Hindus and Muslims are now under 12 lakhs. Though it is huge number to us, the communal-chauvinist combination of Assam Movement are not satisfied with these number.” Ghosh adds, “It is also important to note that, out of 12 lakhs Bengali speaking people, at least one third are children or such persons of which either their parents’ names or names from their family or family tree have been already included in final NRC.” Ghosh also points out another important aspect of exclusion. “If the Citizenship card, Migration Certificate or Refugee inmate Certificates would have been accepted as per Modalities, SOP of NRC and as per Supreme Court directives, at least two-third of the Bengali Hindu Population excluded from final NRC would have not been affected,” says Ghosh.
Former Principal of Pandu College and noted Literary Critic Amal Kanti Raha concurs saying, “The number of people dropped from the final is higher than the expected. It is due to the reason that other than the target group, huge numbers of other groups of people have been excluded from final NRC.” However, he fears that all of them barring the Bengalis will get some exemptions. He says, “Only the Bengali Hindus and the Muslims will have to face the Foreigners Tribunal for getting justice. We are thankful that the maximum hard work of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) have minimize the number of excluded persons from Bengali Hindus and Muslims.”