GUWAHATI, Aug 7 - Senior Congress party leader and the Leader of Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia has called upon the Chief Ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram to ensure that no visitors or settlers from Assam are harassed in those four States on the mere suspicion of being illegal foreign migrants.
Saikia has written identical letters to the Chief Ministers of the four North Eastern States in this regard.
This comes after reports emerged on people from Assam being harassed by certain elements while traveling through, or to, those States following publication of the complete draft NRC here.
�I am quite distressed to see news reports about the government machinery of your State, in concert with local students� organisations, restricting the entry of visitors from Assam and setting deadlines for the exit of long-term inhabitants and treating them like Declared Foreigners following the publication of the final draft of the NRC in our State and exclusion of about 40 lakh names from the document,� Saikia stated in the letters.
He added, �It has been acknowledged by all stakeholders, including the State NRC Authority, that many out of the 40 lakh omissions from the final draft are the result of technicalities and they are likely to be included in the final NRC after they establish their credentials during the claims and objections phase. This section also includes numerous people who settled in Assam from other States of India but were excluded from the final draft because the States of their origin failed to respond in time to verification queries sent by the State NRC Authority.�
Saikia said that the Supreme Court has already clarified that those excluded from the final draft of the NRC are not to be treated as foreigners till such time as the claims and objections phase is completed and the final NRC is published and added that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also assured that even after the final NRC every person will get an opportunity to approach the Foreigners Tribunal.
�I request you to ensure that no visitor or settler from Assam is harassed in your State on the mere suspicion of their being illegal foreign migrants. Such vigilantism can adversely impact the fraternal bonds between the governments and people of our respective States and create a backlash in the days to come. In order to prevent the situation from deteriorating any further, I may suggest that your government could immediately launch an awareness drive among the populace of your State regarding the stand of the Supreme Court and the Union Home Minister on the issue of those omitted from the final draft of the NRC. This apart, it is also imperative to take the local social and students� organisations into confidence so that the trend of viewing every person from Assam as an illegal migrant is abandoned forthwith,� stated Saikia.