Assam NRC to be scrapped? What does this mean?

Shortly after Amit Shah reiterates commitment to nationwide NRC before Lok Sabha, Himanta Biswa Sarma says Assam government wants to scrap NRC conducted in the state.


On Wednesday, November 20, Union Home Minister and BJP Chief Amit Shah asserted that the government was determined to conduct an exercise on the lines of the recently concluded National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. He also said that the nationwide process would also be applicable to the state of Assam.

Hours later Assam Finance Minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters that his government was not satisfied with the outcome of the NRC published on August 31, 2019 and wanted it scrapped. Sarma said, “The state government cannot accept this NRC. People who should not have been included in the list have made it, while those who should have in have been excluded.”

He further told NDTV, “We believe that the NRC prepared by former state coordinator Prateek Hajela has failed to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Assam. There are many shortcomings, as we have already pointed out. While various groups in Assam have already filed review petitions before the Supreme Court, we now want this faulty list to be scrapped in favour of a nationwide NRC.”

Sarma also insisted that the cut-off for the NRC in Assam should be the same as the rest of India.

This is significant because it raises several questions:

>>Does this mean that the Assam NRC is effectively junked?

>> Doesn’t this render the investment of time, money, resources and man-power into the exercise effectively useless?

>> Isn’t this a colossal waste of public money?

>> What happens to those left out of the NRC? Do they still need to defend their citizenship before Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT)?

>> The SOPs and modalities related to the process of defending citizenship before FTs and what happens thereafter were expected to be released on November 30. Is that now officially in limbo as well?

>> Speaking orders about reasons for exclusion are trickling in at a snail’s pace. Will that process be stopped completely now?

>> Over 60 people have died in a manner connected directly or indirectly with NRC, detention camps and other citizenship related issues. What does the Assam government have to say to their families?

>> The cut-off date for the Assam NRC was derived from negotiations that led to the signing of the historic Assam Accord that itself was the result of a bloody struggle. People who died are still referred to as martyrs. Given how this cut-off date was specific to the situation in Assam and the national cut-off is unlikely to take this into account, are their deaths now in vain?

When the final NRC was released 19, 06, 657 people were excluded from it. These included Bengali Hindus, working class Muslims, many people of Gorkha and Nepali descent, as well as Koch Rajbongshis and even some Ahoms! Over 50 percent of the people excluded were unlettered, married women from impoverished, rural backgrounds. This has already been a source of tremendous stress for the entire region that is fast becoming even more volatile with the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) being added to the mix, stirring up a cauldron that is already bubbling over. With protests breaking out regularly in the region, is there any hope for peace?

The Assam NRC was a process monitored by the Supreme Court and the case is expected to come up for hearing on November 26.





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