Centre yet to plan for NRC update fallout

NEW DELHI, Dec 12 – The Centre is still grappling to find out ways to deal with the persons whose names will not be included in the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC). Meanwhile, in a disturbing development, some organisations are trying to spread rumours that a large number of people would be declared as foreigners after the publication of the NRC and some such messages were also sent to the Middle East countries.Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) admitted before The Assam Tribune that the Centre is yet to formulate policies to deal with the persons whose names would not be included in the NRC. The issue has been discussed at various levels at the Centre but till date, no concrete policy has been formulated. Some organisations have already started spreading rumours that names of a large number of people belonging to a particular community would not be included in the NRC. Such rumours are not only confined to different parts of the country but the intelligence agencies have even intercepted some such messages sent to the Middle East countries, which is a very disturbing issue for the government.
Sources said that the issue may turn out to be “too big” and the government would have to be very careful while dealing with it. If names of a substantial number of people living in the State are not included in the NRC, the government would have to deal with such people very carefully as taking a hasty decision may complicate matters. “It is a fact that the issue is being discussed at the highest level of the government. But till date, the government has not been able to come up with a concrete plan,” sources admitted.

MHA sources pointed out that as the NRC would contain the names of all the Indian citizens living in Assam, those whose names would not appear would be deemed as foreigners. But it would be impossible for the Government of India to push out a substantial number of people out of the country. “Even if we can assume that most of those whose names would not appear in the NRC are Bangladeshi nationals, it would not be possible to deport them to the neighbouring country. The Bangladesh government would never accept those people as their citizens and it would not be possible for India to push them out forcibly,” sources admitted.

One of the ways discussed is de-franchising them and giving such people work permits. Sources said the possibility of de-franchising the foreigners has been discussed for a long time and during the tenure of Atal Behari Vajpayee as the Prime Minister, the possibility was seriously discussed. Former Governor SK Sinha in his report to the President of India in 1998 had also suggested de-franchising the foreigners living in the State. But sources said that clear-cut modalities and policies would have to be formulated to de-franchise a large number of people and the government would have to be careful to ensure that no major law and order trouble breaks out in such a scenario.

MHA sources admitted that if a large number of persons are identified as foreigners and any action taken against them can have serious repercussions not only in Assam but also in other parts of the country. Giving such examples, sources pointed out that the demolition of the Barbi Masjid led to formation of militant groups like MULFA and MULTA in Assam, while a number of youths of the State joined the Harkat-ul Mujahideen and went to Pakistan for training. Similarly, the blast in Bodh Gaya was a fallout of attacks on Rohingyas in Myanmar. Under the circumstances, the possibility of growth of terrorism and influence of foreign powers to create trouble in India cannot be ruled out, sources admitted.

R DUTTA CHOUDHURY Assam Tribune

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