Anti-NRC shutdown affects life in Assam

Hajela has legitimised lakhs of immigrants:

September 06, 2019 09:54 pm | Updated 09:54 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Guwahati: Congress MP from Barpeta constituency Abdul Khaleque addresses a press conference regarding the recent release of the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC), in Guwahati, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. (PTI Photo) (PTI9_6_2019_000081A)

Guwahati: Congress MP from Barpeta constituency Abdul Khaleque addresses a press conference regarding the recent release of the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC), in Guwahati, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. (PTI Photo) (PTI9_6_2019_000081A)

A 12-hour shutdown imposed by the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal against a “faulty National Register of Citizens (NRC)” partially affected normal life in Assam on Friday. The shutdown, however, had no impact in Guwahati and a few other major towns.

The police said there were no incidents of violence apart from the blockade of roads by mobs. Some members of the Bajrang Dal and affiliates were detained in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh for allegedly trying to stop the screening of a newly-released Assamese film.

The Assam unit of the Bajrang Dal accused the NRC authorities of deliberately coming out with an erroneous document containing the names of Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants.

“NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela has legitimised lakhs of such immigrants despite many leaders including former Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia and Union Minister Kiren Rijiju saying Assam has at least 50 lakh Bangladeshis,” a spokesperson of the unit asserted.

It demanded the reupdating of the NRC based on 1951 as the cut-off date, granting of citizenship to the Hindu refugees and their rehabilitation in various States and inclusion of the names of excluded indigenous people in the NRC.

Tribunal hurdle

Santanu Bharali, legal advisor to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, said the State government was finding it tough to make the 200 new Foreigners’ Tribunals operational as the NRC authorities had not shared district-wise numbers of the excluded people.

“The government is ready to start the tribunals, but we are waiting for the data on district-wise exclusions,” he said, adding that the NRC authorities would have to put in place a security regime as in the case of Aadhaar before sharing the data.

Leaders of the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha on Friday met Assam Home Commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri and requested that the government provide relief to more than 20,000 Gurkha doubtful (D) voters excluded from the final NRC.

Along with their dependents, the number of excluded Gurkhas is more than 1 lakh, the organisation said.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs in October 2018 said the Gurkhas cannot be tried in Foreigners’ Tribunals,” said community leader Nanda Kirati Dewan. “But members of the community have nevertheless been tried in the tribunals, made D-voters and struck off the NRC. The government has to get out of its complacency and move the court,” he added.

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