The final version of the NRC is going to be published on August 31 as the draft version, published in June, excluded 41 lakh people.
Guwahati: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who recently hinted at a legislative route to correct the National Register of Citizens (NRC) after its publication, on Friday called upon the people to stay calm and not panic.
The final version of the NRC is going to be published on August 31 as the draft version, published in June, excluded 41 lakh people. “I am sure that the people of the state will continue to extend cooperation after the publication of the final NRC, as they did when the draft version was published. The unity, brotherhood and peace among communities will remain the same even after the NRC,” said Mr Sonowal.
It is significant that the chief minister’s indication to take a legislative route has already triggered a storm, with many reading it to understand that the BJP, in power at New Delhi and Dispur as well, may use the legislative (or ordinance) route to re-examine the list. It also reflects growing anxieties within the BJP that the final NRC may end up excluding large numbers from the majority community — the party’s core vote bank.
It was more visible when BJP legislator Shiladitya Dev on Friday said that many Hindu victims of partition and their descendants may not have made it to the NRC in the present form and their exclusion from the final list will have a serious impact on Assam’s identity and culture.
He went on saying that the NRC has virtually helped Bangladeshi Muslims to become Indian citizens, as it has failed to provide any protection to the Assamese people; rather, it ruined them. He cited the instance of the non-inclusion of the name of a martyr of the Assam agitation in the draft NRC to justify his argument.
Earlier, the ‘Assam Schetan Manch’, a frontal organisation of saffron brigade staged a sit-in strike on August 17 against the Supreme Court for rejecting the demand of re-verification of NRC list. Two days later, the ABVP staged a protest in front of the NRC secretariat demanding re-verification of the NRC.
In fact, the Assam BJP has declared that it has every right to question the NRC.
“If a large number of illegal foreigners enter the NRC, what can we do? We have to think of correctional measures to weed out the illegals... we have a lot of respect for the Supreme Court and that is why the NRC is coming out on August 31,” BJP spokesperson Bijon Mahajan said.
The Supreme Court has thrice turned down pleas for NRC re-verification after the Centre and state alleged “rampant misuse of legacy data” leading to the inclusion of illegal migrants and exclusion of citizens.
Meanwhile, the Congress, the main Opposition in Assam, has also come down heavily on the BJP, with former chief minister Tarun Gogoi accusing the party of turning the NRC into a “wastepaper” to appease its Hindu vote bank.