“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
– Mother Teresa
More than a week has gone by since the final draft NRC has been published. Most interestingly, in its wake Assam has remained completely peaceful. And all the credit for the prevailing peace in the state goes to the people of Assam. On the other hand there appears to be no dearth of enemies, adversaries and opponents to peace and development in the state. These forces have seemingly gone berserk after the draft was published in their attempt to mint political and other gains out of the same. Ludicrously enough, these anti-Assam forces never had anything to do with the development of the state and are bereft of the minimum knowledge of the NRC update process. Their boisterous protest to the NRC makes it clear that they understand everything about Assamese and non-Assamese and Hindus and Muslims – a reflection of their cheap political ethos.
While the names of over 40 lakh applicants have failed to find place in the draft, the anti-Assam forces have seemingly pounded on the issue and is using the same as their ‘Brahma-ashtra’. It may be recalled that the movement against foreigners began in 1979 and continued for six years till the signing of Assam Accord. The NRC update process is only a follow up of the Accord by way of its implementation reinforced by tripartite treaty between the Centre, the state government and the AASU. It is the Assam Movement demanding detection of foreigners, deletion of their names from voters’ list and their deportation,that has found partial manifestation in the final draft NRC.
Significantly, the process of updation of the NRC is far from being over. The process of making claims by those whose names have been left out will begin from Friday. While over 40 lakh people have failed to make it to the final draft of NRC, the general feeling is that lakh among them are genuine Indian citizens and the reason that they have been left out could very be due to errors made in the application forms and submission of relevant documents. With needful guidance, with the political parties and organizations having an avowed role to play on this count instead of making noise, the genuine Indians are expected to find their names in the final NRC. Interestingly the matter does not end here. Thereafter too, the legal option shall remain open. However, at the end of the day, lakh of names will be left out. Over the decades there has been an unabated influx of foreigners (mainly Bangladeshis – both Hindus and Muslims) into Assam. Indeed, the NRC exercise was taken up as per the directives and close supervision of the Supreme Court principally to determine the foreigners in the state. The NRC opponents may be told that the document pertains to the people of Assam and they know what is what and whom to trust. The anti-NRC lobby must be a highly astonished and disappointed lot that that there is absolute peace in Assam. And why not? The people here have not only seen the NRC update process progressing in phases under the supervision of the Supreme Court, but have fully cooperated with the authorities. With the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in some States not far away, the anti-NRC forces would leave no stone unturned to shoot trouble in Assam as well as in other parts of the country in the next few months.