BJP’s Double Standards on ‘foreigners’ exposed in Assam Assembly

Resident of UP becomes ‘Foreigner’ in Assam!


Guwahati, September 26: At a time when the National President of BJP Amit Shah is openly labeling all people dropped from the Final Draft NRC published in Assam on July 30, 2018, “Ghuspethiya” or illegal intruders from Bangladesh, and threatening to throw them all out of India, the Leader of the Opposition of Assam and Congress Legislator Debabrata Saikia has exposed how Indian Citizens have been declaring Foreigners in Assam.

In a shocking revelation, Saikia cited the case of Dinesh Prajapati and Tara Prajapati, residents of Pakharijan in the Tinsukia district. “Both, Dinesh and Tara Prajapati are languishing in a detention camp after being declared as illegal migrants by a Foreigners Tribunal, even though in reality both of them hail from Ballia, Uttar Pradesh!”

Disclosing that he has engaged Advocates Syed Burhanur Rahman, Aman Wadud and S.S.S. Rahman to fight the Prajapati duo’s case in the Gauhati High Court, Mr. Saikia derided the BJP president, Mr. Amit Shah, and said the Prajapatis are the sort of people whom Mr. Shah is calling ‘ghuspethiya’ and threatening to expel from India. Saikia said, “I am confident that the Prajapatis would finally obtain justice because they possess documents establishing their legacy link with their family in Ballia.”. Here are some of the Prajapati’s documents that validate Saikai’s claims:

“There are countless cases of innocent people like the Prajapatis being prosecuted and persecuted as illegal migrants, but leaders like Mr. Shah are not bothered about their misery and are instead busy in trying to derive cheap political mileage out of the situation,” said Siakia. He cautioned Mr. Shah not to engage in the politics of polarization in Assam.
Manipulating Foreigner’s Tribunals
Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT) are quasi-judicial authorities before which people whose citizenship is being questioned are required to provide evidence that they are indeed Indian citizens and the documents submitted to prove their citizenship are indeed authentic. This is because the burden of proof in such cases lies on the proceedee.

It is alleged that although FTs had been declaring people foreigners even before the BJP came to power in Assam, there has been a huge surge in these numbers after the BJP formed the government in the state. It is also alleged that the BJP incentivizes FT judges to declare more people as foreigners by rewarding such judges with extended tenures.

The present Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal allegedly violated all norms and held a meeting with the members of the Foreigners’ Tribunal and directed them to declare maximum numbers of ‘Foreigners’ just after BJP ceased power in the State of Assam. It is alleged that this is why hundreds of genuine Indian Citizens are being declared ‘foreigners’. In an even worse turn of events, names of all such declared foreigners along with names of their siblings were excluded from the final draft NRC in Assam. They are all Bangladeshi according to BJP President Amit Shah!

BJP’s Two Faces
Meanwhile, Prateek Hajela, the NRC State Coordinator appears to have mysteriously dropped 5 important documents from the original list of 15 that could have been used by people excluded from the NRC Final Draft for filing applications as part of the Claims and Objections process. Hajela had made this submission as a part of draft Modalities and SOPs for the Claims and Objections process. Luckily the court did not let this slide and not only asked for the opinions of various stakeholders including AASU and AAMSU, but also asked Hajela to submit a feasibility report on using the excluded 5 documents.

However, the excluded documents also make it difficult for Bengali Hindus whose names have been excluded from the NRC final draft to file their claims. But the BJP that has been trying to cultivate the Bengali Hindus vote bank, now finds itself playing on the back-foot!
Therefore, in a bid to pacify Bengali Hindus, the Government of Assam and Government of India have to now submit their affidavit before the Supreme Court, opposing the stand of NRC State Co-ordinator! However, this is at odds with the stand of the Assamese population and their demand for a free and fair NRC that helps weed out all outsiders.

It was revealed in Assam Legislative Assembly on September 25. In response to a question raised by Deputy Leader and Former Minister of Assam Ajanta Neog, it appears that the Government of Assam is contradicting its stand with its own actions. At a time the State Government is opposing its own official for cutting down five documents from the Modalities of NRC, the same State Government had decided twice to cut down 13 out of 15 documents of List ‘A’! “The BJP Government after coming to the power in Assam decided on 18 April and 19 May, 2017 that NRC-1951 and Voters List up to 24th March, 1971 should be the only valid documents for updating NRC. The State Government had submitted an affidavit on 18 April, 2017 in Supreme Court which also reveals that stand,” said Ajanta Neog. Interestingly the NRC 1951 is one of the five documents dropped by Hajela.




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