NEW DELHI, Sept 10 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday underscored the need for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to be introduced in all the states of the country.
Significantly, central BJP leaders, for the first time, hinted about the next phase of the NRC process, with party general secretary in-charge of Assam Ram Madhav asserting that deletion of names from the voters list and depriving the identified foreigners of all government programmes will follow after publication of the final NRC. �Then, the next step will be to deport them,� he said.
He added that people should not be alarmed by this, because it will be handled diplomatically. He then referred to Bangladesh�s ongoing attempt to deport the Rohingya refugees. Bangladesh is in negotiations with Myanmar and its officials have even visited the Rakhine state, where one million illegal Rohingya will be deported, Ram Madhav said.
�Please don�t worry, we will handle the deportation of the illegal migrants with care,� he said.
Ram Madhav also assured that Clause Six of the Assam Accord, which calls for providing Constitutional safeguards, will be implemented. It is a commitment made in the Assam Accord and will be implemented, he assured.
Sonowal and Madhav were among a host of speakers who took part in a seminar on �NRC: Defending the borders, securing the culture� held at the Constitution Club of India. The other speakers included Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Rajya Sabha MP, Samudra Gupta Kashyap, author and journalist, and Abhijit Majumder, editor-in-chief of My Nation.
Meanwhile, Sonowal attacked the Congress for its handling of the foreigners problem and the dilly-dally adopted in the case of updating the NRC. The idea of updating the NRC remained dormant for over 40 years due to the negligent attitude of the then Congress government, Sonowal said.
Unabated influx from Bangladesh cannot be seen as a problem of Assam alone. The State accounts for only a fraction of the total number of illegal migrants in the country. The census report also reveals this. The population increase, during the last few decades, in states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Meghalaya are far beyond the national level. �So this highlights that gravity of the problem of influx of immigrants in India and is a major challenge, and I feel that it is very important for every state to have an NRC,� suggested Sonowal.
�You will appreciate that unless the border is sealed, the immigration problem can never be solved,� he said.
Praising the Prime Minister for signing the land swap deal pending for so many years, Sonowal said that the border fencing works have been given a boost. This will now lead to sealing of the Indo-Bangladesh border, the Chief Minister said.
The first formal decision was taken in 1999 by the AB Vajpayee government, Sonowal recalled, adding that Vajpayee had played a pivotal role in highlighting the problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh.
Updating the NRC in Assam is the most extensive exercise undertaken to prepare a flawless Register. The State government has deployed over 55,000 employees at the cost of timely implementation of development works.
Sonowal said that the NRC exercise has become controversial in India and abroad, with many suggesting that the NRC work was undertaken to divide the people and would even lead to bloodshed. Some expressed the apprehension that the exercise would cause unrest in Assam as lakhs of names would be out of the NRC final list.
There may be mistakes here and there, but they can be rectified. Genuine citizens who have been left out of the draft NRC need not panic, as they can still get their names in the final NRC. Adequate opportunities will be given for filing claims and objections. All claims and objections will be duly examined and sufficient opportunity will be given before each claim and objection is disposed of. Only then will the final NRC be published, Sonowal pointed out.