Social bodies demand Delhi to refute UN rapporteurs’ claim

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, June 24: Various student and social organisations of the state are “shocked” after the special rapporteurs of the United Nations (UN) dashed off a letter to Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and questioned how an “internal matter” of Assam like NRC update had been taken to the UN platform by people with “vested interests”. The organisations also demanded the Union government to give a strong reply to the letter refuting their claims.

The organisations also expressed surprise as to how the UN can ask the Government of India to spell out its stance in context with the NRC update and Citizenship Amendment Bill in Assam.

NRC exercise is being questioned which is being monitored by the Supreme Court and how “elements with vested interests” are trying to drag the whole issue to the UN platform.

Reacting on the issue, All Assam Students Union (AASU) chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said, “The special rapporteurs of the United Nations (UN) letter to Swaraj, vis-à-vis the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, the infiltration problem in the State and the Citizenship Amendment Bill (2016) – has no basis. In fact, I am surprised over the whole development and this is the work of the people who are protecting the illegal Bengali Muslim minorities staying in Assam and they are in cahoots with the international lobby.”

The UN’s special rapporteurs on minority issues in their letter have also appealed to the Union government to take all necessary steps to conduct a comprehensive review of the NRC update and to ensure that its implementation process is compliant with relevant international human rights standards.

“This is a huge conspiracy against the indigenous people of Assam. The Centre should outright reject the letter and should provide proper data to prove how intense the infiltration problem is in Assam,” said the AASU general secretary, Lurin Jyoti Gogoi.

According to him, for the last 38 years, the indigenous people of Assam are struggling to protect their own identity.

“A UN representative should come to the State and get a first-hand grip of matters. The UN rapporteurs have dashed off a letter to Sushma because the ‘illegal Bangladeshi lobby’ is inciting them,” Gogoi said.

Anup Chetia, general secretary of the proscribed United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), is also “amazed” over UN rapporteurs’ letter to Sushma raising concern over the fate of Bengali minority Muslims in Assam in context with the NRC exercise.

“We cannot accept these allegations. It is totally untrue. The UN will never want any community to become extinct. The NRC exercise is going on in Assam so that the illegal Bangladeshi nationals can be identified and can be deported back to Bangladesh. We have to stand up unitedly against the ‘lobby’ which is trying to ‘misguide’ a global organisation like the UN,” he said.

Senior advocate of Supreme Court, Upamanyu Hazarika, questioned, “Not a single representative from the UN has come to visit Assam, then how did they know that human rights are being violated? Those who have brought about these allegations should be identified.”

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