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19 lakh excluded from 'NRC' in Assam: Large number of Bengali Hindus omitted, BJP cries foul

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Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

BHOPAL: More than 19 lakh people have been excluded from NRC in Assam. 

The long exercise that was aimed at identification and exclusion of 'Bangladeshis and illegal foreign citizens' has ended with publication of the final list.

BJP had hoped that Muslims would be termed outsiders but in this list, but Bengali Hindus apart from other caste groups have been exluded in substantial numbers.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) saw 3.30 crore or 33 million people applying and out of them, claims of 1.9 million have been rejected. These 19 lakh have the option to appeal but there is still panic and no clarity as to what will happen to this huge populace.

The first NRC was created on the basis of 1951 census. Later, Hindu refugees kept coming to India. Also, there was allegation of large scale Muslim infiltration. Now the cut-off date has been 1971. Those who came before it, are considered citizens. But question mark remains on the fate of those whose names are out. Will They be stripped of citizenship?

Not just Assamese groups but most parties in Assam supported the demand for NRC. Former Congress CM Tarun Gogoi had claimed that it was his brainchild. Today, he has expressed sadness that names of Bengali Hindus were excluded. BJP has also rejected the NRC list and said that there were irregularities.

False claims, propaganda and xenophobia

'Former Union Home Minister Indrajit Gupta, a Communist leader, had claimed that there were 40 lakh infiltrators' but all these claims have now been exposed, said Advocate Aman Wadud, who has been raising the issue of excesses during the process and has also fought for victims.

Wadud said that Governor SK Sinha was even more alarmist and claimed that region was turning Muslim majority due to infiltration & later during UPA tenure Sri Prakash Jaiswal who was Minister of State for home had claimed 50 lakh illegal migrants in Assam. "The last Assembly election was fought over this issue".

"Now what's the figure, it's 19 lakh. And among these 19 lakh people too, many are genuine Indian citizens. In so many cases, parents are in, children are out, two siblings are in and two are out, there is no way all these people are foreigners", he told media on Saturday. 

NewsBits VIEW

1.9 million people--that's more than the population of Goa, an entire state, and almost equal to population of countries like Mauritius and Fiji combined. The anxiety, fear, apprehensions to own people over spelling mistakes, nick names, missing old records. 

An exercise that led to detentions, families separated, elders dying, people committing suicide, even those who served country in forces made to suffer terribly over silly mistakes or oversight, poor facing prospect of legal fight to prove they're Indian. We hit a nadir, didn't we?

Such is the power of propaganda that most people sitting faraway from a region they had never visited in liftetime, believe that there are 4 crore 'infiltrators'. Media demonizes, and you approve their harassment, financial burden detentions, family tragedies, separations and deaths.

Now the propaganda has fallen flat. The groups who made these exaggerated and false claims have ended up with egg on their face. It's time political parties realise that inflaming passions doesn't serve any purpose--it has caused hassles for crores of people, loss of productivity, tensions, separation of families & deaths. It's time we return to humanity.

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Journalist for more than 20 years. Had started his career with National Mail in the nineties. Worked as Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, as an Assistant Editor with DB Post, later Contributing Editor with The Huffington Post, writes for First Post, The Wire, Newsd & several other major publications.