POST TIME: 12 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 September, 2018 01:22:33 AM
The update of the NRC excluded over 40 lakh people from the draft list. Assam claims most of these people are from Bangladesh
‘Detect, delete, deport’
BJP says on those to be excluded from Assam NRC
Staff Reporter

‘Detect, delete, deport’

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has categorically said all people excluded from the final list of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) would be de-franchised and deported to “their country”. The update of the NRC, a Supreme Court-monitored exercise to identify genuine Indian nationals living in Assam, excluded more than 40 lakh people from the draft list published on July 30, triggering a political controversy. Assam claims most of these 40 lakh people are from Bangladesh.

According to a report by India’s NDTV, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav on Monday said people excluded from the final list of Assam’s NRC would be de-franchised and deported to their country, while Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal suggested that the NRC be implemented across India.

“The NRC will ensure the detection of all illegal immigrants. The next step will be to delete - means deletion of names of illegal immigrants from voters’ list and they will be denied them from all government benefits. The next stage will be deportation," Madhav said while speaking at an event on the NRC on Monday.

He said the citizen's register is being updated as part of the 'Assam Accord' signed in 1985 under which the government had made a commitment to "detect, delete and deport" all illegal immigrants from the state.

Chief Minister Sonowal said genuine citizens of India would get adequate opportunities to prove their citizenship and include their names in the final list of the NRC.

"The NRC should be implemented in all states. This is a document which can protect all Indians. Those who will be excluded from the NRC in Assam can go to other states. So we will have to take strong step," he said at the seminar, organised by think-tank 'Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini'.

Meanwhile, some ruling Awami League, when contacted by The Independent, refrained from making any comments, saying they are yet well aware of the BJP leader’s comments. AL presidium member and former international affairs secretary Lt Col (retd) Muhammad Faruk Khan said he was not aware of the comments.  “As I haven’t heard the statement of Ram Madhav, I don’t want to make any comment on the issue. Besides, it’s absolutely an internal affair of India, so we should not make any comment over any country’s internal affairs,” he said.

 “It’s a sensitive issue. It would be unwise to make any comment over the issue right now,” said AL joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif. However, a joint general secretary of the AL, seeking anonymity, said, “The BJP leader can make such a statement to woo voters as India is going to polls soon. However, I don’t think anything like that will happen.”

BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav also said no country in the world tolerates illegal immigrants but India has become a “dharamshala” (lodge) for illegal immigrants due to political considerations. He said the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, after realising the enormity of the problem of illegal immigrants in Assam, had enacted a state-specific law in the 1950s to expel foreigners.

“Nehru’s great-grandson should read the history and extend support to detect and deport illegal immigrants from Assam,” he said, referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The exercise aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state that borders Bangladesh was carried out in Assam following a decision in 2005 after a series of meetings between the central and state governments and the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU). Assam is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.

The current exercise, started in 2005 under then Congress government, got a major push after the BJP came to power in the state with “illegal immigration from Bangladesh” as a poll plank. When the NRC was first prepared in Assam in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens then.

As per 2011 census, Assam’s total population is over 3.11 crore. The process to identify illegal immigrants in Assam has been widely debated and become a contentious issue in the state’s politics. A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by AASU in 1979. It culminated with the signing of the ‘Assam Accord’ on August 15, 1985, in the presence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.