“We have the right and the freedom to speak in our own mother tongue; even we have the right to receive education in our mother tongue. So, how’s it a challenge for you? ” Well, these are some of the unanswered questions and opinions of the Bengalis residing in Assam, India.
Our country got its independence from the British Rule in 1947 and we are now in 2018. After all these years of independence, we still don’t have any meticulous or precise identity card with us. Some say Adhaar Card is the essential one, while some say PAN Card; some say Voter Id while some name other xyz recognition cards. Why the confusion? Have you ever thought about it? We always need to carry many identity cards with us for we don’t know which one will work in which situation, isn’t it?
So, the question is, after all the years post independence, why don’t we have any single particular identity card that will be valid throughout India? Why is our government is still puzzled and confused?
To resolve this critical problem, Government started the NRC process in the year of 1951. The National Register of Citizens or NRC is a properly maintained data sheet that contains the names of all the legitimate Indian citizens living in Assam. The planned scheme’s idea was designed for the advantage of the people by classifying the illegitimate immigrants living in the north-eastern states.
So the question is, how is the Government is going to do that? How it will identify if someone who is a refugee or not, particularly a state, which shares international boundaries, the state which has a large number of people with different castes, religions, tribes etc.
Now, the NRC upgradation is going on and so is the chaos among the public in Assam. People are puzzled, they are confused, worried and at the same time, they are disturbed. Different organizations of Assam have raised their voice against the nuisance which is going on in the name of illegal immigrants. Why are people so tensed? Reasons are:
There is a lot of discrepancy going on in the NRC module. Shockingly, Dhubri MP Badruddin Ajmal and some other distinguished MLAs’ names were not listed in the NRC’s first list. A lot of authorized tenants of Assam found their names missing from the list. What can be done in such a case, for no name means no citizenships? So, is it possible for the government to force people to get separated from their families and send them back to Bangladesh?
Why so? Because most of the missing names in NRC’s first list were Muslims. However, officials said that the first list was not the final one, it was just a draft. Supreme Court said that the first NRC list was NOT the final one and those whose names were not on the list can claim for their identity. December 15, 2018, is the cut-off date to apply for the claims.
Earlier, Assam was the melting pot of the numerous dynasties, tribes, merchants, settlers as North-East was the single place of India where Britishers couldn’t reign. There were a large number of immigration activities going on at that time and even during the division of India and Bangladesh too. With this, to find out the illegal immigrants in Assam is not an easy work to do so.
There are Bengalis everywhere in India. Are they illegal dwellers? Barak Valley residents want the government to answer that. Assam shares a border with Bangladesh and the local dialect of Barak Valley has some similarities with the Bangladeshi Sylethi language. Does this make them illegal refugees?
About 10 lakh residents’ names were left out from the first list. The challenge is, most of the countryside people of Assam don’t have any legal documents to prove their father’s or ancestor’s inheritance. While some have it with the other ancestor’s legacy.
So, in this case, what can be the solution for them? Will they have to leave India?
The women of the remote areas of Assam are facing the most terrible conditions, as most of them got married at an early age and carried forward their husband’s legacy. Some of them are illiterate and they don’t have any educational certificate or a voter ID through which their origins can be traced and the relationship be linked with their fathers. NO connection…NO CITIZENSHIP.
The political agenda of different political parties is based on NRC data of Assam. One hand, Muslim organizations are protesting against the NRC itself, so are others for their own motive. This shouldn’t be the case, isn’t it?
I am not against the NRC draft as we are badly in a need of a national accord, but what I mean to say is there should not be any favouritism or inequity. India has a very compound and composite political arrangement, therefore, political differentiation and politics should not be there in this procedure. The proper infrastructure and the proper knowledge of the process should reach more people, especially to the people of the remote areas of Assam. Lack of awareness and lack of proper information will lead to nothing, only consistent discord.
For a long time now, a falsehood has been cultivated in Assam that Barak valley is filled with illegal immigrants of Bangladesh. On September 23rd, The All India Namasudra Bikash Parishad (AINBP), a Dalit group, took out a protest rally in Assam as a sign of dissent against the discrimination that has been going on with the intention of ruling out Bengalis from the concluding draft of NRC. A number of Bengali associations have raised their voice against the socio-economic inequity that is going on in Assam. The commoners are facing the worst situation. They probably never thought that one day they might have to prove their identity just because they share their border with Bangladesh.
The Barak Valley people are protesting for their nationality, they are facing harassment and most of the foremost associations have joined their hands with the lakhs of ‘suspected’ immigrants residing there. Ironically, the national media and the government is least concerned about this divide and rule situation in Assam. West Bengal has also witnessed the protests against the indecisive future procedure. The Matuas wing blocked the railroads in main parts of North 24 Paraganas and Nadia district.
We need to now re-discover human relationships and heave our voice against the intolerance.
We are all Indians, so why the discrimination? Does India actually care about the rising communal uprisings of Assam? Unfortunately, all the foremost political parties are busy in with their own electoral benefits. Think about it!