When Indians are called infiltrators

Human movements:As Assam debates migration, those from the State are seen in Lucknow on Sunday.Rajeev BhattRajeev Bhatt  

The north Indians excluded from the updated draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam resent being called ghuspethiye , meaning infiltrator.

Though NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela has said that the 40 lakh persons left out of the draft cannot be marked “illegal migrants”, many political leaders call them infiltrators, even in Parliament. “What pained me more than the exclusion was the implication that those who missed out are foreigners or Bangladeshis. Is U.P. in Bangladesh,” asks a Guwahati-based businessman, Manoj Singh.

Mr. Singh, 49, and his family had relocated from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh in the 1980s. The NRC officials rejected his documents, as was the case with Hindi writer Satyanarayan Mishra from Chitrakoot, also in U.P.

Like them, scores of people from U.P., Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab have not made it to the list. They include Surinder Singh, a Sikh businessman whose family shifted to Guwahati from Imphal in the 1970s.

Mr. Singh’s forefathers had settled in Manipur from Punjab more than a century ago. His parents were listed in the pre-1971 electoral rolls in Imphal, “but it is impossible to get hold of those rolls to prove we are genuine Indians”.

Many cases

Rajkumar Sharma, a 51-year-old media professional, and his businessman brother Gajanand Sharma from Haryana’s Bhiwani, face a similar situation. So does Dibrugarh-based Sarada Devi, 48, despite producing documents linking her to Ramgarh in the Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan.

She had provided papers linking her daughter and two sons to her deceased husband Fakir Chand Bhargav’s family tree.