This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Bindita Sinhä. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Assam’s NRC Draft: A Solution Or A Mark Of The Rising Intolerance?

More from Bindita Sinhä

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:

  • Errors and Constant Errors:

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?

  • Stimulation of the Communal War:

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.

  • Multi-Cultural Background of Assam:

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!

You must be to comment.

More from Bindita Sinhä

Similar Posts

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

By Khushi Paliwal

By shiv kumar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below