Assam NRC: Registry, Security and Threats

By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

The national registry of citizens that has come into effect in Assam is a measure that boldly challenges the problem of illegal immigration. The strain on resources, the flood of people who come across and not all of them with good intentions may be checked to a certain extent but there could very well be a storm once the validation process is over.

For those who don’t know about NRC of Assam, it’s the initiative to identify who belongs here and who belongs there (Bangladesh) and the starting point is 1971 when Bangladesh came into existence. The government will collect data, run their checks and decide if someone has been living here illegally. That’s all well and good but what do we do once we have identified we have x number of people living here illegally. What do we do then? Currently, roughly 3.28 Crore people live in Assam according to official stats, if let’s say 80 lakh people, how do we deal with them. These people in all logical sense would have destroyed their proof of being a Bangladeshi, now they know they are on radar. How do we deport them? Is Bangladesh willing to accept them? If these people have property and assets such as house, land, bank account, gold deposit and I am sure they do, will govt. seize all the property once they know someone is illegal and if government thinks these people will hand over everything and walk away peacefully, it’s a gross mistake. This issue has all the signs of turning into a Myanmar Rohingya type conflict.

This issue has to be handled at a national level cohesively with all the states on eastern border with Bangladesh and the Bangladesh itself because NRC will have long reaching consequences on our national security.  The state governments in non NDA states like West Bengal will both strongly oppose and impede any efforts against creating such registry. Mamta Banerjee’s has every reason to resist illegal immigration; it’s what gets her votes, even if those votes have been casted by people from across the border. Trust me, getting an Aadhar Card and Voter Id is not that difficult in West Bengal or for that matter in many parts of the country. The problem of illegal immigration from Bangladesh is something whole country is facing and knowing that rampant extremism from Bangladesh can easily seep in and cause damage in our country is both dangerous and terrifying.

Assam’s NRC was long overdue but the stakes are much higher here. We all have to wake up to problem of illegal immigration

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