Monavvar Alam- India
Today, the Hindu ultra-rightist party, BJP, had its own Marie Antoinette moment. Marie Antoinette was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution, who had infamously and quite innocently said about poor and hungry French citizens protesting against rising price of bread: “If they can’t eat bread, why don’t they eat cakes?”
The same way the Home Minister of India, Rajnath Singh of Modi government has said, “Those people who didn’t find their names in the final list, will be given chance to fight legally and prove their citizenship”. What an assurance! In a country where even rich and powerful find it difficult to afford the tedious process of a legal battle, asking poor uneducated masses to fight legally is not only cruel and inhuman but also akin to making fun of their haplessness.
Anyway, the cat is out of bag finally. Out of the 32.9 million applications received by the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the names of around 40 lakh people in Assam haven’t been included in the second and final draft. The first draft, released in December last year, had the names of 19 million people. According to 2011 census data of India, Assam with 34.2% Muslim has the second highest Muslim population among all Indian states after Jammu and Kashmir.
According to Registrar General Sailesh, No names will be referred to the Foreigners' Tribunal or would they be taken to the detention centre. Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India Sailesh said adequate opportunity would be given to those whose names are not included in the final draft. “This is a historic day for India and Assam. The exercise is unparalleled in size. It is a legal process done under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court. The process has been completely transparent, fair, objective and meticulously carried out,” he said.
Yes, through a very “transparent” and “objective” process carried out “meticulously, as many as 40 lakh Bengali Muslims have been deprived of their right of citizenship and are now at the mercy of brutal political lords hell bent on destroying them.
Security has been beefed up ahead of the publication of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) final draft. The NRC Assam final draft was published at 10 AM on the official website - nrcassam.nic.in. The Centre has rushed large military troops in Assam to maintain law and order there.
“All steps being taken. Confident there won’t be a breach of peace and tranquility. Over 200 companies (of Central Para Military Forces) will take care of law and order,” Assam DGP K Saikia said.
The opposition parties, including the old guard Congress, have raised some voice of protest but they are so weak in the tower of babble that it will hardly be hard and soon will be forgotten in the din of coming election.
The firebrand chief minister of state of west Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, lashed out at Centre over the draft National Register of Citizens which she termed was a vicious plan of the Hindu nationalist party, BJP, to evict Bengalis and Biharis from Assam. She said that she would dispatch a team of her party (Trinamool Congress) MPs to the state and might even visit Assam herself.
“We are worried because people are being made refugees in their own country. It’s a plan to throw out Bengali speaking people and Biharis. Consequences will be felt in our state also,” Banerjee said at a press conference at the state secretariat in Kolkata. “I shall send a team of MPs to Assam. I can go there too.”
“As many as four million Bengalis have been declared non-Indians. Bengal and Assam share borders. Other states would not be as adversely affected as Bengal. Bengal and Bangladesh will be the most affected by this decision,” remarked the Bengal chief minister.
Responding to a question on whether the Bengal government would offer shelter to those not on the list, the chief minister said, “We would give it a thought. But let me ask, why would they be thrown out in the first place?”
She said (the Indian) Parliament must bring in a law to protect those left out of the draft NRC. “What will happen, if they want to push them back, and if Bangladesh does not want to take them back? The Parliament must legislate to protect these human beings,” the chief minister said.
Mamata Banerjee, citing examples of a few persons, said that they had all the documents and identity proofs such as voters’ cards, passports, public sector bank accounts and Aadhaar cards and yet have not been recognised as Indian citizens.
“They are settled in Assam with businesses and establishments. How can they be excluded? They have been staying there for decades, even for 50 to 100 years,” remarked Banerjee. Although the NRC exercise was monitored by the Supreme Court, she blamed the Modi government for creating “unnecessary provocation.”
“The Union home minister has said there is no cause of panic. If that be so why have communication and social networks been deactivated? One can’t even reach out through e-mails. Why were 15 companies of forces deployed?” Mamta Banerjee asked before leaving for Delhi on a two-day trip where she is expected to discuss with leaders of non-BJP parties the possibilities of forging an anti-BJP front before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
It is pertinent to recall that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party, which came to power in the state for the first time in 2016, had vowed during the election campaign to act against “illegal” Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh.
That is why after the publication of the NRC final draft and the list, the exercise has created so much panic among Bengali speaking Muslims in Assam. Their future hangs in balance precariously with no immediate solution in sight. It will be big triumphant leap of Hindu ultra nationalist from the “Nelli Massacre", in which around 2,000 innocent Muslims were killed from more than a dozen villages in Assam, and their bodies were buried in a mass grave 36 years ago. Once again the cruel hands of time have succeeded in shaking the survivors of that infamous genocide and many millions more. That is happening in North-Eastern part of India but elsewhere too, Muslims are no more feeling safe. All over the country, Hindu lynching mobs are busy killing innocent people on one or another pretext.
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