Few days before, I had an opportunity to visit four states of North East India. I was happy and was feeling relaxed in journey to witness the beauty of North East.
I reached Imphal, Manipur and rushed, via Meghalaya to Tripura for two days. It was immense pleasure to watch the beauty of nature and vast natural resources. During the journey I was in deep thought that, why state and authorities are mishandling the natural resources which can improve the digits of GDP. The politics of so-called leaders, uneducated people and lack of connectivity of North East people to mainstream India are few reasons.
Before coming back to Delhi, I was in Assam for 4 days. I visited Tezpur, Badarpur and Guwahati. In Tezpur I met with students, activists, and other people in a public gathering. A young man came to me with lots of smile, greeted me and hugged me like I have known him from before. I too gave him my introduction, he took me aside, he took both of my hands in his hand and said, “Bhai sahib hamarey liye kuch karo, Kuch din baad hamara kya hoga Khuda hi janey” (Do something for us brother, what will happen to us after few days, only God knows).
Till then I was aware of NRC (National Register of Citizen) issue of Assam. But after hearing the helpless voice and grave concern of that young person, I started enquiring about the NRC and D-Voters (Doubt Full voters) issues with other people. Most of the people were helpless, a person of above 60 years said, “we are in very good condition here, the people who are living in detention camps their condition is worse than this…”.
Why Assamese are in danger..?
- Assam is a state with 32 million population and one third are Muslims.
- According to authorities, 4.8 million people in Assam “have failed to provide appropriate legacy documents” in advance of the preliminary lists – the second time such a list is being published, the first released earlier in 2018.
- BJP who came to power in Assam in 2016 is threatening people to expel them from Assama, if their names are not registered with the NRC list.
- “All those whose names do not figure in the NRC will have to be deported,” said Himanta Biswa Sarma, Finance and Health minister, Assam. Earlier in March he is reported to have said that only Hindu people of Bangladeshi origin will be allowed to stay in India.
- The matter is in India’s top court, and SC ordered to present final list on 30 June 2018. Earlier in February the government requested SC for extension of date, saying it was “impossible” to meet that deadline. But the SC turned down the request, and said that government’s job was “to make possible the impossible”.
What are the people’s concern?
During the discussion with people and activists, I came across few instances which depict the grave situation Assamees are confronted with. The head of a Muslim family said, “my family is here in this village since 1942, if my name is not in the list then should I go to Bangladesh now?”.
A daily wage earner, the head of a Hindu family, while talking to me was apprehensive of the great disaster that would havoc on him and his family if his family names, by the government records, are not found in the NRC list. His grandfather had migrated to the village in 1930s only. The SC ordered to enroll the people by checking their documents in a given frame of time, but local officers are not accepting the documents produced, often making harassing comments and unreasonable justifications for not accepting such documents. The plight of those who are uneducated is enhanced by the fact that they often find it hard to negotiate with the concerned officials because of “too much sarkari things”. The educated somehow mange to get enrolled.
If anyone’s name is ‘Azizur’ in certificates and it is printed ‘Azizul’ in government documents, they are rejecting it knowingly. There are many such examples.
Will Assam be Episode – II like Rohingya ? This is the question to be answered and voices to be raised to aware the masses.
If the government can accord a ‘second class citizenship’ to the people of Assam, they may follow the same in rest of India with some ‘selective’ community in a very selective approach.