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�Publication of draft NRC no cause for euphoria�

By Ajit Patowary
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GUWAHATI, Aug 4 - Former chief organising secretary of the All Assam Students� Union and president of the Sadou Deshi Janagosthiya Jatiya Samsad, advocate Abu Adil Mohammad Enamul Haque has appealed to the indigenous people of the State not to be swept away by the euphoria generated by the publication of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). There are more things of concern for the indigenous people than what meets the eye, he said.

Haque cautioned that it is time for serious retrospection of the developments concerning the vexed aliens� issue, not for elation.

There is a need to give serious thought to the two probabilities. These are � on the one hand, names of a huge chunk of the indigenous people may not figure in the NRC in the long run; on the other hand, names of all the indigenous people may be included in the NRC. Under these two probable situations, the leaders of the mainstream Assamese society will have to evolve the most appropriate strategy to determine the exact number of foreigners illegally staying in Assam. Otherwise, the exact number of illegal migrants will remain as vague as it is at present.

Again, the NRC is updated according to the spirit of Clause 5 of Assam Accord. However, this vital document has not been updated as per the specifications provided by the sub-clauses 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 of the said Accord. The leaders of the mainstream Assamese society should amend their approach towards these factors.

He attributed the development of exclusion of the names of many indigenous people from the final draft of the NRC to the apathy of the leaders of the mainstream Assamese society to raise the issue of these people before the Supreme Court in connection with the updating of the NRC.

The initial NRC, prepared during the term of Late Bishnuram Medhi as the then Chief Minister of Assam in 1951 to save Assam from the growing influx of people from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), included the names of the indigenous people and even the migrants, who entered Assam prior to 1951. Thus, it was an easy task to incorporate the names of the indigenous people in the final draft of the NRC with an official move to link them with their legacy data. Such an official intervention in the case of the indigenous people vis-a-vis the NRC, was needed. Because, the literacy rate among many of the indigenous groups of the State�s peoples is very poor.

Moreover, the authorities would have been able to incorporate the names of the indigenous people by covering them under clause 3.3 (Original Indian) of the Citizenship Act of the country. However, those who fought the NRC-related case in the Supreme Court never bothered to draw the attention of the Court to these aspects, despite some leading personalities of some of the indigenous groups pointing out these points time and again.

It was not public as to what was the Supreme Court instruction on deploying the people belonging to the migrant communities as officials in the NRC updating-related exercise. This point assumes importance in view of the fact that people in huge numbers from these communities manned the NRC Seva Kendras (NSKs). The attention of the Court was not drawn to this fact by the petitioners of the case.

All these aspects need serious thoughts. Though some quarters are rejecting these aspects as trifling ones, these attributes have played major roles in making the final draft of the NRC a lopsided document, which has kept alive the portend of serious consequences for the State�s indigenous societies.

The indigenous societies will have to overcome such consequences with some well thought-out strategies and action plans accordingly. And this is the time to chalk out such strategies and action plans. The much trumpeted last battle of Saraighat is fast approaching the State�s indigenous communities. This battle could be won only with superb intelligence, asserted Haque.

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�Publication of draft NRC no cause for euphoria�

GUWAHATI, Aug 4 - Former chief organising secretary of the All Assam Students� Union and president of the Sadou Deshi Janagosthiya Jatiya Samsad, advocate Abu Adil Mohammad Enamul Haque has appealed to the indigenous people of the State not to be swept away by the euphoria generated by the publication of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). There are more things of concern for the indigenous people than what meets the eye, he said.

Haque cautioned that it is time for serious retrospection of the developments concerning the vexed aliens� issue, not for elation.

There is a need to give serious thought to the two probabilities. These are � on the one hand, names of a huge chunk of the indigenous people may not figure in the NRC in the long run; on the other hand, names of all the indigenous people may be included in the NRC. Under these two probable situations, the leaders of the mainstream Assamese society will have to evolve the most appropriate strategy to determine the exact number of foreigners illegally staying in Assam. Otherwise, the exact number of illegal migrants will remain as vague as it is at present.

Again, the NRC is updated according to the spirit of Clause 5 of Assam Accord. However, this vital document has not been updated as per the specifications provided by the sub-clauses 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 of the said Accord. The leaders of the mainstream Assamese society should amend their approach towards these factors.

He attributed the development of exclusion of the names of many indigenous people from the final draft of the NRC to the apathy of the leaders of the mainstream Assamese society to raise the issue of these people before the Supreme Court in connection with the updating of the NRC.

The initial NRC, prepared during the term of Late Bishnuram Medhi as the then Chief Minister of Assam in 1951 to save Assam from the growing influx of people from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), included the names of the indigenous people and even the migrants, who entered Assam prior to 1951. Thus, it was an easy task to incorporate the names of the indigenous people in the final draft of the NRC with an official move to link them with their legacy data. Such an official intervention in the case of the indigenous people vis-a-vis the NRC, was needed. Because, the literacy rate among many of the indigenous groups of the State�s peoples is very poor.

Moreover, the authorities would have been able to incorporate the names of the indigenous people by covering them under clause 3.3 (Original Indian) of the Citizenship Act of the country. However, those who fought the NRC-related case in the Supreme Court never bothered to draw the attention of the Court to these aspects, despite some leading personalities of some of the indigenous groups pointing out these points time and again.

It was not public as to what was the Supreme Court instruction on deploying the people belonging to the migrant communities as officials in the NRC updating-related exercise. This point assumes importance in view of the fact that people in huge numbers from these communities manned the NRC Seva Kendras (NSKs). The attention of the Court was not drawn to this fact by the petitioners of the case.

All these aspects need serious thoughts. Though some quarters are rejecting these aspects as trifling ones, these attributes have played major roles in making the final draft of the NRC a lopsided document, which has kept alive the portend of serious consequences for the State�s indigenous societies.

The indigenous societies will have to overcome such consequences with some well thought-out strategies and action plans accordingly. And this is the time to chalk out such strategies and action plans. The much trumpeted last battle of Saraighat is fast approaching the State�s indigenous communities. This battle could be won only with superb intelligence, asserted Haque.

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