Noted intellectual Dr Hiren Gohain today claimed that communal forces, both Hindus and Muslims, are trying to hijack and derail the update process of the NRC by making provocative statements.
Gohain, who is also the Chairperson of the Forum Against Citizenship Act Amendment Bill, requested the government to set up an independent commission to look into the future of the people not finding their names in the final NRC to avoid any humanitarian issue.
“The NRC is not a bad or communal thing. But certain section is trying to give a communal colour to it. Communal forces of both Hindus and Muslims are interested in hijacking and derailing the entire NRC process,” he said without elaborating.
The Forum is concerned that certain international publications trying to project the update exercise of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as the beginning of an ethnic cleansing of Bengali speaking Muslims, the political commentator told a press conference here.
“By making such provocative statements, they cannot stop the NRC. It is only creating a fear psychosis among the people. I do not know if it is being done intentionally or due to lack of knowledge,” Gohain, an eminent educationist, said.
“An Independent Commission should be formed to see the future of those people not finding their names in the final list. They should not be pushed back like animals. The Commission should think of how to deal with the situation to avoid any humanitarian crisis here,” Gohain said.
On the chances of some genuine Indians getting excluded from the final list to be released on July 30, Gohain said there may be a few cases of denial of due rights, but those should not immediately construed as deliberate.
“In many cases, indigenous people do not have any documentary evidence of their citizenships. Notices from the Foreigners Tribunals have reached to scores of non-Muslim ethnic families also. These are due to mechanical and bureaucratic inhuman attitude,” he explained.
Gohain also requested the authorities to extend the time limit beyond one month for raising objection by people not included in the final list.
The NRC is being updated with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for legitimate claim to Indian citizenship in Assam. The state which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951.
The first draft of the NRC was published during the intervening nights of December 31 and January 1 this year, containing 1.9 crore names out of a total applications of 3.29 crore people in Assam.
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