Home Open space The State of The Stateless : Stories of Agony From Assam

The State of The Stateless : Stories of Agony From Assam

The ongoing NRC panic can be seen as the preparatory steps for an imminent riot or rather homicide of the Muslims in the state.

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Creation of the state of Assam

In 1826, after the Yandabu treaty with the Manns (i.e the Burmese) the entire territory of Assam came into the hands of East India Company which divided Assam into two administrative units namely Brahmaputra Valley and Surama Valley. Goalpara, Kamrup, Darrang, Nagaon districts of Assam and Dhaka, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Malda districts of East Bengal having its capital at Dhaka. Later on, Brahmaputra valley was again bifurcated from East Bengal in 1912 and Assam became a separate Administrative province politically for the first time. In the pre-British period, the then Goalpara district (now divided into four districts namely Goalpara, Dhubri, Bongaigaon and Kokrajhar) and Garo hills were never part of Assam till 1912. It was a part of East Bengal with a majority of Bengali speaking people. Thus the Bengali Muslims i.e. the Miya Muslims of Nagaon, Darrang Cachar districts are among the most indigenous people of Assam like the rest of Assamese people. Assam was officially recognised on 24th February 1826 while signing the Yandabu treaty and that time, Assam from Kaliabor to Upper Assam and the rest of lower Assam was called the state of Kamrup, Kamatapur etc. Besides these, places in the present day Bangladesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, etc were also included within Assam which was known as Assam- Banga. In the year 1874, the East India Company bifurcated the boundaries of the then Assam-Banga into two parts, one Bengal including Rangpur, Goalpara, Silchar, Cachar and the other Mymensingh district. Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram remained in Assam. Rest of Assam went into areas of East Bengal.

Prior to this, for the geographical boundaries of Ahom, Pragjyotispur, Kamrup, Assam Banga, there were four  geographical divisions of these areas for the purpose of administrative exigencies, which were known as Kampith, Ratnapith, Swarnapith and Saumarpith. The name Assam came in the origin of the 19th century and many times since primitive age, it was named and renamed and its area has been either expanded or reduced.

During those days the inhabitants of those areas belong to Dravid, Austria, Vodsian and Mongolian. The Bengali Hindus and Bengali Miya Muslims are originally the Dravidian people. The present people of Assam namely Brahmins, Khatriya, Vaishya, and Kayastha had come to Assam in the 14th century or thereafter only. In that sense, they are within the definition of latest migrant people of Assam. As the Bengali Hindus and Muslims of Assam are originated from the Dravidian communities having a history of more than 5000 years and such, they are more indigenous than the petitioners, who claim to be indigenous being upper hand in all top posts in today’s Assam. This is a historical truth and cannot be denied by false propaganda.

The Muslim History

The Muslims came to Kamrup in the year 1206 from Bengal under the legendary figure Muhammad Bin Bhaktiar Khilji, the General of Muhammad Ghouri crossing the river Manas. Muhammad Bhaktiar Khilji made an unsuccessful on the territory of Assam in the year 1206 AD. This took place before the Ahoms came to Assam. The graveyard of Sultan Gias Uddin still exists at Hajo with some of his contemporary rulers and generals. The graveyard is popularly known as Pua Mecca (Pua in the Assamese language means one fourth) Dargah at Hajo. During their rule, they assimilated with local people, married here which resulted in the growth of Muslim population in Assam.

Muslims are the second original inhabitants of Assam next to Bodo, Kachari, Chutia, Dimasa etc. because of the fact that the Ahoms came to Assam in the 13th century and about the year 1228 A.D from upper Burma crossing the Patkai Hill Ranges. They are of Mongoloid origin being a member of the Shan subsection of the Indo-Chinese family people. Mirjumla, General of Aurangzeb invaded Assam in 1662. Later on, a treaty was signed between Ahoms and Mughals on 1st January 1663 by Ahom king Jaioddhaj Sinha and he surrendered a vast territory to Mughals like west of the river Barnadi on the northern Bank of Brahmaputra and West Kallang river on the southern bank. Thus first migration of Muslims to Assam took place as early as in the 12th century. Not all the Muslims came from outside. A huge number of local people embraced Islam on their own accord, for which Muslim saints and Pirs whose Dargahs and Mazars abound in different parts of Assam including Pua Mecca of Hajo, Azan Fakir Dargah are primarily responsible. The other factor for the spread of Islam in Assam was the Muslim war prisoners who were allowed to settle in Assam during various reigns. Their presence in Assam attracted people towards the humanitarian values prevailing amongst them. The local people were impressed by the equality, simplicity and the way of life resulting good numbers of conversion to Islam.

The migration of Muslims from East Bengal took place even before the rise of the philosophical idea of Pakistan. These people did not come on their own will. Rather, they were influenced, pressurised and patronised by the British for migration. The Muslims of East Bengal were very hard working and poor. The reason behind the migration of Muslims was the fertile land of Brahmaputra valley and the inability of indigenous people to use the fertile land for cultivation. The migrants from East Bengal converted deep jungles into smiling agricultural fields. In the early 1900 AD, the British provided family ticket of Rs 5 from Dhaka to anywhere in Assam to facilitate easy travelling of entire family.

The migration of cultivators from East Bengal continued till the time of partition of India in the year 1947. It is a matter of record that immigration of Muslims from East Bengal into Assam stopped in 1947. There is no reason why they should come here as the borders are guarded. Migration in large numbers was impossible unless we assume that all our police force in the border posts remain asleep for 24 hours or they are in league with these immigrants.

Due to their settlement on the bank of river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, the immigrant people are the victims of flood and erosion which make them roofless and landless. They turn to urban areas for their livelihood and they are being branded Bangladeshi national. The imposition of the Bengali language was not the design of Bengalis but of the British imperialist. As per the 1931 census, the percentage of Assamese speaking people was 36%. However, it shoots up abnormally to 62% in 1971 as the vast section of immigrant Muslims, though their original mother tongue was Bengali, recorded Assamese as their mother tongue in the census.

The Assam Agitation

Elections were held in Assam along with rest of India in 1951, 1957, 1962, 1971 and 1977-78. There were many election petitions in the High Court and even in the Supreme Court. Nobody had ever raised the question that there were foreigners in Assam or in voters lists. During the period from 1962 to 1970 the police personnel entered into the minority-dominated villages at dark night and picked up genuine Indian citizens as being Pakistani (now Bangladeshi) without giving any opportunity of defending themselves and accordingly lakhs of people were pushed back to the then East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Hirlal Patowary, MP from Mangodoi died in 1978 and a rumour spread that Mrs Indira Gandhi would contest from Mongodoi. A cry for the first time in the history of Assam was raised that there were lakhs and lakhs of foreigners in Assam and in the voter list. Due to the death of Hirlal Patowary bye-election was held in April 1979 in Mangodoi. In the bye-election revised electoral roll was prepared after deleting names of thousands of voters as alleged as foreigners. This is the beginning of Assam Agitation. The agitation was led by the All Assam Students Union and All Assam Gana Sangam Parishad. The agitation started as against outsiders and later on, it became anti-foreigners and finally anti-Bangladeshi. The agitation was guided by chauvinist forces. The leaders of the movement roused passion amongst the Assamese people by wrongly painting a picture by saying that lakhs of foreign nationals are entering every day through the border and as such Assamese people would soon become a minority in their own homeland and they would lose their language and culture. In such a charged atmosphere, the forces of the movement butchered thousands of innocent people belonging to minority communities at Nellie, Mukalamua, Gahpur, Chawlkhua, and in many other places clearly showing that the movement was based on racial hatred. As per the statement made by the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs on the floor of parliament, 78 persons lost their lives in the Agitation during the period August 1979 to January 1980. There were 120 cases of arson, 128 cases of assault with a weapon.

The Nellie Massacre

As per Government records, 1819 persons belonging to the religious minority community were brutally killed during a six-hour period starting from morning on 18.02.1983 at 14 villages of Nagaon. The villages are Nellie, Alisingha, Khulapathar, Basundhari, Bugduba Beel, Bugduba Habi, Borjola, Butuni, Indurmari, Mati Parbhat, Muladhari, Pati Parbhat No.8, Silbheta and Borburi. 688 criminal cases were filed in connection with Nellie massacre and of these only 310 cases were charge-sheeted. The remaining 378 cases were closed due to the police claim of lack of evidence. But all the 310 charge sheeted cases were dropped by the subsequent Govt as a part of the Assam Accord, 1985; therefore not a single person even had to face the trial for the gruesome massacre. Even after that initial shock, it was not the communal forces alone who marched against the so-called foreigners. The Assamese villagers joined out of fear of hatred, patriotism or a thirst for revenge. There are also reports from the reliable sources that a section of paramilitary forces also joined the attack on immigrants in some areas. Daya Nath Sharma, brother of Jaynath Sharma (later became Union Minister) attacked on immigrants when he was heading a crowd of attackers at Chaulkhua char. AASU and AAGSP joined to form a paramilitary organisation called Swach Sevak Bahini with Jaynath Sharma as Supreme Commander. The agitation leaders had declared that by forming the SSB they are only defending themselves from the attack of minorities. Yet the question remains, were the minorities in a position to attack such a formidable majority in Assam. The mass murder in the entire Brahmaputra valley was really a holocaust. After the massacre of 1983 Tiwary Commission was appointed to inquire into the matter. The Commission inquired into the matter and submitted a detailed report before the Govt. Unfortunately, the report has not been published as on date due to unknown reasons.

Assam Accord

Memorandum of Settlement popularly known as Assam Accord was signed on 15-08- 1985 amongst the leaders of the Assam Agitation, Central Government and Assam Government in the presence of Late PM Mr Rajiv Gandhi. The Accord was signed by Mr RD Pradhan ( Home Secretary, Govt of India), P.P Trivedi (Chief Secretary, Govt of Assam), Mr PK Mahanta ( President, AASU), Mr BK Phukan ( General Secretary, AASU) and Bhiraj Kumar Sharma ( Convener, AAGSP). The Assam Accord stipulated the 25th March 1971 should be the cut off date for detection of foreign nationals and the detection will have to be done through judicial process for which Tribunals are set up. The leaders of the Assam Agitation formed a political party named Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on 14.10.1985 in a convention at Golaghat. The AGP came to power in the elections of 1985 and took up the task of detection of foreign nationals as their primary agenda. It instructed all police stations to extensively search for doubtful nationals in all corners of the state. The police lodged a complaint against 2,87,625 persons but ultimately after being served by proper authority judged by the Tribunals 8694 persons were declared as foreign nationals many of whom could not appear before the tribunal due to extreme poverty and illiteracy.

Doubtful / Disputed Voter D Voter

The riot of 1950 was so colossal that even according to Official sources 53,000 Muslim families were displaced. The 1951 census did not include all these thousands of families who had not come back and resettle in their original place afterwards. Mangaldoi episode of 1979 and allegations brought by the Assam agitation leaders are the origin of the menace of D voters. The Election Commission of India vides letter No. 23/96/PS-II dated 17.10.1996 ordered for the intensive revision of Electoral Rolls of the entire 126 Assembly Constituencies of Assam with reference to 01.01.1997 as the qualifying date in pursuance of the Supreme Court judgement. The Commission later directed that the names of such persons whose cases have been referred to appropriate tribunals may provisionally be included in electoral rolls, but before final publication, the letter D meaning Disputed or Doubtful may be indicated against each such names in the Electoral Rolls.

The electrical rolls were published on 09.12.1997 inserting D mark for the first time in the State of Assam. Initially D voters were allowed to cast their votes in each and every election in Assam but later ordered that those persons shall not be allowed to cast their votes, shall likewise be ineligible to contest any election to either house of the parliament or to the legislature of any state till the determination of the case of such person in his favour by the appropriate tribunal.

A victim of D voter has every right to know how he is made D voter or about the report of verification made by the LVO or the Election Officer (Executive Magistrate). It is a civil damage and one cannot be caused such damage without the opportunity of hearing to his case in defence at the time of verification. It is found that such marking of D in the voter lists is carried out without the knowledge of the person concerned. To fight out the menace the victim should collect information under RTI Act about the enquiry if any conducted by the competent authority before making him/her as D voter or to know on what basis he/she has been made D voter. The victim should collect the enquiry report or the particulars of the enquiry if done by the competent authority. He/she should also know the reasons of not giving intimation to him or her about the enquiry or reasons of not giving a reasonable opportunity of hearing before marking D in the voter list against his/her name. A criminal case may also be filed against such fraudulent and false enquiry or other legal remedies may be sought for causing such damage i.e. the damage by putting D mark against his/her name in the voter’s list without notice.

It is pertinent to mention here that the process of revision of electoral roll was started in the year 1986 and the then AGP Government took up the matter with utmost sincerity. The scrutiny, check and counter check where made the most meticulous and intensive manner. It has caused immense harassment to both linguistic and religious minority in Assam.

National Register of Citizens

In connection with the implementation of Assam Accord a tripartite meeting was held on 5th May 2005 at New Delhi with representatives from AASU, Central Government and State Government in which it was decided to update the National Register of Citizens 1951 as per the Citizenship Act 1955, Section 6A and according to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and National Identity Cards ) Rules , Section 4A.

To carry out the NRC process a cabinet sub-committee was constituted on 30th August 2007 headed by Dr Bhumidar Bhorman, the then Revenue Minister to examine the modalities for updating NRC. Recommendations made by this cabinet subcommittee were accepted by state cabinet and send the same to the government of India in the month of June 2008. Based on this modalities Registrar General of India notified to carry out a pilot project in two circles namely Barpeta in the Barpeta district and Chay Gaon in the Kamrup District in June 2010. Due to the complexity of modalities, a protest March called by All Assam Minority Students Union on 21st July 2010. During the protest march, Assam Police opened fire killing four persons and subsequently the pilot project was stopped. Again a new cabinet subcommittee was constituted on 21st July 2011 headed by Prithvi Majhi, the then Revenue Minister which has framed more simplified modalities in consultation with all the stakeholders, which was approved and forwarded to Govt of India on 5th July 2013 by the State Govt. Based on the recommendations of the state govt, the Union of India has prescribed modalities on 22nd November 2014 for carrying out NRC updating in the state of Assam.

As per the above modalities eligibility for inclusion in the updated NRC has to be established by production of the following documents:

1. The first requirement is a collection of documents of any of the following documents of List A issued before midnight of 24th March 1971 where the name of self or ancestor appears (to prove residence in Assam up to midnight of 24 March 1971)

List A

1.1951 NRC or
2.1971 Electoral Rolls up to 1971 or
3. Land and Tendency Records or
4. Citizenship Certificate or
5. Permanent Residential Certificate or
6 Refugee Registration Certificate or
7. Passport or
8. LIC or
9. Any Government issued License / Certificate or
10. Government Service / Employment Certificate or
11. Bank / Post Office Accounts or
12. Birth Certificate or
13. Board / University Educational Certificate or
14. Court Records / Processes.

Further two documents viz Circle Officer / GP Secretary in respect of married women migrating after marriage and (2) Ration Card issued up to the midnight of 24th March 1971 can be adduced as supporting documents. However, these two documents shall be accepted only if accompanied by any one of the documents listed above.

2) The second requirement arises if in any of the documents of List A is not that of the applicant himself/herself but the name appearing in List A is that of an ancestor, namely father or mother or grandfather or grandmother (and so) of the applicant. In such cases, the applicant shall have to establish relationships with such ancestor appearing in List A. Such document shall have to be a legally acceptable document which clearly proves such a relationship.

List B

1. Birth Certificate or
2.Land Document or
3. Board or University Certificate or
4. Bank/ LIC / Post Office record or
5. Circle Officer/ GP secretary in case of married women or
6. Electoral Roll or
7. Ration Card or
8. Any other legally acceptable document.

Supreme Court on 17.12.2014 ordered directing all concerned to complete NRC operation within a fixed time frame as per approved modalities. In the same order, the Chief Justice was requested to constitute a constitutional bench to take up matters pertaining to these cases. From 11th May 2017, the Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court had started hearing in the matters relating to the constitutional validity of Section 6 A of the Citizenship Act 1955,  Rule 4 A of Citizenship Rule 2003 regarding updating/preparation of NRC process.

At the field level updating of the NRC, the process has been started by the NRC authority under the monitoring of the Supreme Court from Feb 2015.

Presently tasks like the publication of records, issue and receipt of application are said to be completed and the verification is going on and field verification is progressing.

A total of 244144 persons have marked D voters in the electoral roll till 31.12.2017. Of this 131034 cases have been disposed of and 113110 cases are pending for disposal in Foreigner Tribunals. A total of 20578 have been declared as foreigners and 66986 declared as Indian citizens by the FT’s. 241496 cases other than D voter have been referred to the Foreigner Tribunal. Of the 109549 disposed of cases, 69628 have been declared as foreigners. The final draft of the NRC is to be published on 31st July 2018.

Original Inhabitants

The Honourable Supreme Court passed an order on 24th August 2017 in SLP (Civil ) No. 13256/2017 relating to the matter of admissibility of Grama Panchayat Secretary Certificates for married women for establishing linkage to their ancestors for updating of National Register of Citizen (NRC). In pursuance of Hon’ble Court Order the State coordinator, NRC, Assam has issued instructions to all concerned for identification and segregation of original inhabitant (OI) for coverage under Clause 3 of the schedule to the Citizenship Rule 2003 (Registration of citizen and issue of National Identity Card).

It is to be mentioned here that there is no definition of OI is made / available in Citizenship Rule 2003, Citizenship Act 1955 or in the Constitution of India. Whereas the NRC Authority is carrying out the identification and segregation of OI for inclusion of their names in the updated NRC arbitrarily based upon caste, creed, religion, traditions, food habits, dress code etc. without considering any proof and without issuing any guideline so as to make the process free, fair and uniform.

In general Registering Authority is identifying Tribals as OI without any proof. Whereas tribals like Bodos, Garos, Rabhas are also living in Bangladesh. After creation of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), some Bodo people have migrated to BTC, Assam. By identifying tribals as OI without any proof, there is every possibility of entering the names of some foreigner tribal into the updated NRC.

Some local Registrar of Citizenship Registration (LRCR) are identifying OI based upon traditions, food habit and dress code without any proof, there is every possibility of entering foreigner’s name in the updated NRC.

It is evident / appears that identification and segregation of OI are made based upon caste creed and religion instead of considering any proof and thus discriminating the Muslims. Whereas the history of the existence of Muslims in Assam starts from 1206 AD in Brahmaputra Valley which is earlier than Ahoms, Moreover Muslim dominated region/districts of present Assam namely Cachar, Sylhet (presently Hailakandi, Karimganj district) and Goalpora (presently  Goalpara, Dhubri, Kokhrajhar, Bongaigaon and Chirrang district) are included into Assam in the year 1874 AD from East Bengal and thus these Muslims are son of the soil and hence they and their descendants are original inhabitants of Assam beyond doubt who are presently scattered over the state.

Hon’ble Supreme Court passed an order on 21st July  2015 in WP (C) 562 / 2012 has clarified that the expression”Original Inhabitants” of the state of Assam would include the tea tribes and inclusion of such original inhabitants would be on the basis of proof to the satisfaction of Registering Authority which establishes the citizenship of such persons beyond reasonable doubt. Any directions by the Registrar General of India in this regard shall also be followed by the Registering Authority. However, the Supreme Court has not specified the other groups/communities of people who would be included in the NRC as OI.

Until and unless the definition of OI is finalised and accordingly necessary guidelines for identification are not issued. No partial draft NRC should be published by giving preferential treatment to the undefined OI. It pertinent to mention here that the State Co-ordinator, NRC, Assam 2016 stating that no preferential or differential treatment will be given to any NRC applicant based on OI.

Detention Camps

The Govt of Assam has established 6 detention camps at Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Silchar, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Tezpur to detain the persons who have been declared to be foreigners by the Foreigner Tribunal. In most of the cases, the declared foreigners are socially, educationally and economically very backward. The cases are being decided ex parte because of the fact that the majority of such persons are not able to contest the case and engage counsels due to poor economic status. According to the statement by Transport Minister of Assam Mr Chandra Mohan Patowary, 29738 foreigners have been deported from Assam since 1985. The number of inmates at the different camps is  253 at Goalpara camp, 160 at Kokrajhar camp, 91 at Silchar, 120 at Jorhat camp, 48 at Dibrugarh and 279 at Tezpur camp. 

Details of the persons kept in the detention camps are sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs Govt of India for Nationality verification and confirmation from the concerned government through their Embassy. Consular access facility is provided to the Embassy. Once Nationality verification is confirmed and travel permit prepared the Foreign nationals are deported.

The fact-finding team visited enormous families across villages of which 3 cases are reproduced here.

The Bangladeshi Hindu Refugees

In response to the cases pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court praying for necessary directions to authorities, the Central Government issued notifications on 07.09.2015 that the persons belonging to minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution and entered into India on or before the 31st December 2014 shall be exempted from the provisions of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the Foreigners Act 1946. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was placed on 15.07.2016 in the Lok Sabha by the Union Home Minister for amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955 for granting citizenship to the minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution.

Eviction Drive

The present government has launched an eviction drive in the name of recovering the Govt. Khas land. Such eviction drive has been operated in three villages near Kaziranga on 19.09.16 killing two persons, demolishing 198 houses in Bandardubi, 160 houses in Village Deochur Chung and 12 houses in Village Palkhowa. As per the report of the villagers of neighbouring villages, the victims are patta holders and they have been evicted without providing an alternative arrangement of shelter.

In Hiloi Khunda Village under Mangaldoi Revenue Circle touching the boundary of Mayong revenue Circle, 268 families are evicted violating the Hon’ble High Court’s Order dated 05.09.2016. The said land is Govt, Khas land not being reserved for any public service by a previous Govt. Order.  As such eviction without notice is not applicable in respect of the said land under Rule 18 (2) of the ALRR, 1886. Moreover, the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court by order dated 05.09.2016 specifically directed not to evict them save and except under due process of law. Having stated thus eviction dated  09.11.2016 evicting those river eroded Indian citizens is a gross violation of the law of the land. It is pertinent to mention that while the authority evicted them while the authority evicted them violating the Hon’ble Court’s order by deploying 3 JCB’s, 1 elephant, 50 labourers being armed with dao and 300 armed police force and CRPF, but falsely informed that the victim writ petitioners have allegedly dismantled their own houses and left the place. The  State government has carried out eviction operations in many other places during extremely cold weather putting the victims in extreme harassment and that too without providing an alternative arrangement of rehabilitation. Death of a baby (3 days old) at Fuharatali Village in Darrang district is the result of such eviction.

After independence, 2534 villages are either eroded or washed away by the Brahmaputra and its tributaries from Sadia to Sukchar. About 4.7 lakh hectare land has been eroded since 1951 and it is estimated to be 7.4% of the total landmass of Assam. As per report of the National Flood Commission 40.16% area (31500 hectares) of Assam is a flood-prone area. It is also on record that every year 253 villages and 8091 hectares of land are facing erosion. The area of Majuli has now reduced to 880 sq.km from 1250sq, km due to erosion. About 100 villages of Darrang district are destroyed by the Brahmaputra. In Nagaon,  Morigaon the number of the affected village is about 40. The erosion in the lower Assam (Goalpara and Dhubri) is more grave. Because of erosion the cultivators after losing their hearth, home and land go out for work/engagement but in the worksite, they are caught as a doubtful citizen and subsequently declared them as foreigners by ex-parte orders.  The flood problem in Barak Valley often appears to be a great concern. The rainwater of hill states Manipur, Mizoram, creates an overflow in the downstream and causes devastating flood situation. The demand to address this problem is overlooked.

Name: Shamsul Haq and Zesmina Beegam
Place : Goalpara

The couple lives in a small make house in Goalpora. Shameful earn a living by driving truck. Both of their names have been marked D in the voter’s list for three years. They have been denied electoral rights since then. But the interesting fact is that they have not yet been served the notice in order to challenge in the Foreigner Tribunal. Shamsul’s father’s name was there in the electoral roll and he possesses the necessary documents to prove that as well as his lineage. The police force entrusted with the job of delivering the notice have been allegedly acting anti-Muslim in many cases visited by the team.

Name: Joygul Nesa
Place: Milan Nagar

Joygul Nesa was a housewife when she was detained after declared foreigner in 2010 at the age of 54 even after producing the necessary documents. She was jailed for 2 years and died being ‘foreigner’. Detained at the Goalpora camp she was then shifted to the Kokrajhar camp later. She was taken to CMC when her health deteriorated in jail. After 10 days of hospitalisation, she was then taken to the home where she died soon.

Name: Khodeja
Place: Khakravari

Khodeja aged 65 is a grandmother to 14 was declared foreigner and detained for 2 years. Though she was possessing the required documents she was taken to the Kokrajhar detention camp by creating a frightening situation in the Bangla speaking village. The police came in the night in numbers and forced her to the jail. The family initially refused to talk to the team out of fear and spoke only when they were properly convinced.

Conclusion

The following are the concluding points.

Updating NRC must be done by taking into confidence all of the citizens irrespective of their identities. An error-free NRC is the need of the hour. The time given for the processing is also very less.

Lack of legal knowledge and illiteracy also is a reason for the alarming number of Doubtful citizens. Small technical mistakes owing to illiteracy lead to fatal results.

Transparency in the behaviour of the system is invisible at various stages in the implantation level. The officials ranging from police officers to the judges at the Foreigner Tribunals acts biasedly. There were many experiences of Muslim voters being declared Foreigners even after producing sufficient documents.

Lack of awareness among the general public as well as in the affected community could be seen.

The political parties in Assam including those in the name of the Muslim community have not taken up the issue with due importance. This has created a large section of the minority population live in fear of deportation.

Since the Muslim families residing in the Brahmaputra valley are vulnerable to erosions, they are forced to change addresses with time. This also creates a problem with their documents.

The living conditions inside the jails are pathetic.

The ongoing NRC panic can be seen as the preparatory steps for an imminent riot or rather homicide of the Muslims in the state. The increased military presence in the state in the last couple of months, hijacking of Muslim markets in Silchar and eviction of Muslim families from their colonies justify the concern.

References:

1. Infiltration, Genesis of Assam Movement by Abdul Mannan.
2. Quest for Justice In the foreigner’s cases by Abdur Rahman Sikdar
3.Citizen Journal of Assam
4. Report by the NHRC team to Assam on NRC by the then Special Monitor Harsh Mander
5. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/million-india-assam-risk-citizenship-loss-180328152649287.html
6.https://scroll.in/latest/885356/assam-final-draft-of-national-register-of-citizens-will-exclude-around-1-5-lakh-names
7.https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/nrc-update-policy-for-those-found-non-citizens-in-assam-still-undecided-117121500208_1.html
8.https://thewire.in/rights/nrc-coordinator-names-not-included-final-nrc-draft
9.http://nrcassam.nic.in/
10. The responses given by different representatives of the government on the floor of the Assam Legislative Assembly.
11. Different orders by the Hon’ble High Court of Gauhati.
12.The orders and circulars by the Home Ministry, Government of India.
13. The letter by UN rapporteur to Sushma Swaraj on the NRC.

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