Today, the whole country is debating whether ‘infiltrators’ or refugees should be allowed to live in India or not? The answer must be ‘no’. But before we move on, I’d like to highlight the differences between an infiltrator and a refugee. Simply put, a refugee is a personal who was/is being forced to cross their national borders and cannot return home safely. An infiltrator, on the other hand, is a secret agent who seeks confidential information and uses it to harm a particular thought strain or region. We’ve, off late, been treating the word ‘refugee’ with a lot of hate but we have to change the way we think and see refugee as human beings and not threats.
The National Register of Citizens is where it all begins. The NRC has left nearly 40 lakh people stateless. This isn’t the first time India is witnessing such a situation. We’ve gone through similar times in 1947.
It is important for us to know what the NRC is. The National Register of Citizens contains names of Indian citizens. The NRC was prepared in 1951 after the first census in independent India.
Recently, the Government of Assam, under the supervision of the Supreme Court prepared the drafts to update the NRC. The NRC has to be updated according to the provisions of The Citizenship ACt, 1955, and The Citizen (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. According to the Office of the State Coordinator of National Registration (NRC), Government of Assam, the eligibility for inclusion in updated NRC shall be determined based on the NRC, 1951, Electoral Rolls up to the midnight of 24th March, 1971 and in their absence the list of admissible documents issued upto midnight of 24th March, 1971.
The final draft has left 40 lakh people stateless but is it that simple? No.
It is safe to say, we all agree that only Indian citizens should have the right to access the resources of the country. But what about people who’ve spent half their lives (also, possibly contributed to the economy) living in India? How can we suddenly throw them out and tell them they’re not Indian? The ones who might have entered the country as refugees in the 1970s in search of shelter and food, how can we render them homeless? How can we leave them alone?
The Government of India needs to speak with the Bangladeshi government and convince them to accept the refugees and migrants, and if needed, India must help Bangladesh financially to rehabilitate the people sent back from India.