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Concern over harassment to genuine Indian citizens during NRC process

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, June 2 - A section of the educated Muslim youths of Assam, without the banner of any organisation, held a public meeting at Guwahati�s Satyanath Bora Hall today to discuss the procedure adopted in dealing with claims and objections of persons against exclusion or inclusion of citizens in the draft NRC.

Emphasising the issue of harassment to the genuine Indian citizens belonging to minority community in the process of NRC update, and also the ill-impact of campaigns like �Chalo Paltai�, participants at the meet expressed concern over the prevailing atmosphere in the State.

Harekrishna Deka, former DGP of Assam, participating in the meet said that the NRC is being updated under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court. If a citizen feels he or she is being discriminated against, the person concerned must seek legal redressal. Also, the �Chalo Paltai� proposal is one that may destabilise the State, as it wishes to rewrite history. March 23, 1971, as the cut-off date has been accepted by the people of Assam, and, the Assam Accord also is based on that year. If today, under �Chalo Paltai,� a section of the people strive to make Bengali the State language of Assam, it will not be accepted by the people of Assam�.

The youths emphasised the fact that the Muslims of East Bengal origin had migrated to the State in search of a better life in the early 19th century as part of the colonial �Grow More Food� programme. Since then, they have accepted the Assamese way of life, embracing the language and local culture wholeheartedly. However, over the years, they have often faced various forms of discrimination. Thus, when the NRC process was announced, the community expressed the hope that the register would finally rid them of the �Bangladeshi� tag. However, on the last day of filing claims and objections, more than two lakh objections were filed, allegedly by members of a student organisation, without following the rules.

They argued that the Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, has also asked the NRC authorities to look into such allegations, amid fears that the process will leave out many genuine citizens from the list.

Noted Assamese writer Arupa Patangia Kalita, over phone, expressed her grief at the divisive atmosphere of Assam and hoped the law of the land will be held supreme.

Noted litterateur and critic Hiren Gohain said that every Indian citizen is accorded equal rights under the Indian Constitution. �Many discrepancies have crept into the claims and objections section. Only on the basis of suspicion, genuine Indian citizens cannot be kept out of the register. On many occasions, the objector is not present at the time of verification but an ex parte judgement has not been given,� he added.

Entrepreneur Shyamkanu Mahanta said that in Assam, any campaign like Chalo Paltai will not work. �The language of Bishnu Prasad Rabha and Jyotiprasad Agarwala will always be the State language here. I am glad that the Muslims of East Bengal origin understand this. We have to work together and sort out all outstanding issues. We do not agree on a lot of issues such as the number of immigrants in Assam, but it is equally true that most people of the community came in the colonial times,� he said.

Prominent public figures like Udayaditya Bharali, Dilip Borah, Manjit Mahanta, Paresh Malakar, Santanu Borthakur and Rituraj Kalita also spoke on the occasion.

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Concern over harassment to genuine Indian citizens during NRC process

GUWAHATI, June 2 - A section of the educated Muslim youths of Assam, without the banner of any organisation, held a public meeting at Guwahati�s Satyanath Bora Hall today to discuss the procedure adopted in dealing with claims and objections of persons against exclusion or inclusion of citizens in the draft NRC.

Emphasising the issue of harassment to the genuine Indian citizens belonging to minority community in the process of NRC update, and also the ill-impact of campaigns like �Chalo Paltai�, participants at the meet expressed concern over the prevailing atmosphere in the State.

Harekrishna Deka, former DGP of Assam, participating in the meet said that the NRC is being updated under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court. If a citizen feels he or she is being discriminated against, the person concerned must seek legal redressal. Also, the �Chalo Paltai� proposal is one that may destabilise the State, as it wishes to rewrite history. March 23, 1971, as the cut-off date has been accepted by the people of Assam, and, the Assam Accord also is based on that year. If today, under �Chalo Paltai,� a section of the people strive to make Bengali the State language of Assam, it will not be accepted by the people of Assam�.

The youths emphasised the fact that the Muslims of East Bengal origin had migrated to the State in search of a better life in the early 19th century as part of the colonial �Grow More Food� programme. Since then, they have accepted the Assamese way of life, embracing the language and local culture wholeheartedly. However, over the years, they have often faced various forms of discrimination. Thus, when the NRC process was announced, the community expressed the hope that the register would finally rid them of the �Bangladeshi� tag. However, on the last day of filing claims and objections, more than two lakh objections were filed, allegedly by members of a student organisation, without following the rules.

They argued that the Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, has also asked the NRC authorities to look into such allegations, amid fears that the process will leave out many genuine citizens from the list.

Noted Assamese writer Arupa Patangia Kalita, over phone, expressed her grief at the divisive atmosphere of Assam and hoped the law of the land will be held supreme.

Noted litterateur and critic Hiren Gohain said that every Indian citizen is accorded equal rights under the Indian Constitution. �Many discrepancies have crept into the claims and objections section. Only on the basis of suspicion, genuine Indian citizens cannot be kept out of the register. On many occasions, the objector is not present at the time of verification but an ex parte judgement has not been given,� he added.

Entrepreneur Shyamkanu Mahanta said that in Assam, any campaign like Chalo Paltai will not work. �The language of Bishnu Prasad Rabha and Jyotiprasad Agarwala will always be the State language here. I am glad that the Muslims of East Bengal origin understand this. We have to work together and sort out all outstanding issues. We do not agree on a lot of issues such as the number of immigrants in Assam, but it is equally true that most people of the community came in the colonial times,� he said.

Prominent public figures like Udayaditya Bharali, Dilip Borah, Manjit Mahanta, Paresh Malakar, Santanu Borthakur and Rituraj Kalita also spoke on the occasion.