Ahead of national elections, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has stepped up its campaign on the issue of National Register of Citizens making a strong pitch for widening its ambit from Assam to all other states of the country.
Addressing a seminar here on “NRC: Defending The Borders, Securing the Culture” on Monday, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the influx from Bangladesh should not be seen as a problem of Assam alone because Delhi and other states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Delhi metropolitan cities have experienced the “perils of illegal migration”.
BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, who also spoke at the seminar, said people excluded from the final list of NRC in Assam would be de-franchised and deported to their country, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
"The NRC will ensure the detection of all illegal immigrants. The next step will be delete, meaning deletion, of names of illegal immigrants from voters list and deprive them from all government benefits. The next stage will be deportation," Madhav said.
Sonowal said many states have witnessed population growth much more than India’s national average. Foreign infiltrators pose a threat while staying in our country, eat into our constrained resources and try to encroach on our rights. “That is a big challenge. To respond to that challenge, I feel that NRC is essential in every state. Every state should take the matter seriously,” he added.
Batting for Assam-type NRC in all states in the interest of “national security,” Sonowal said in the presence of Madhav and another senior BJP leader Vinay Sahashrabuddhe that what will happen in other states if illegal migrants moved out of Assam after completion of the final list of NRC in that state.
Assam is the only state in India which has NRC first prepared in 1951 and is being updated now.
The Assam Chief Minister’s strong pitch on NRC for all states came a day after BJP chief Amit Shah in a statement to the party national executive supported attacked the opposition parties for resisting NRC in Assam and said the party has started a campaign in several cities to identify illegal migrants and Rohingya refugees who would be deported.
A political resolution adopted at the BJP national executive on Sunday commended the NRC exercise in Assam and hailed Sonowal for pushing it aggressively under the direction of the Supreme Court.
Referring to the draft NRC in Assam published on July 30, Sonowal said the 40 lakh people excluded from it will be able to file claims and objections and they need not worry because the government will take care of every genuine Indian who will be included in NRC.
On the controversies over such a huge number of people left out of NRC, the Assam Chief Minister said there might be errors “here and there” but the government was engaging the people to correct them through claims and objections which will be examined.
Sonowal said no one will be detected as foreigner if his of her name did not appear in draft NRC.
Sonowal also said unless border is safe, immigration problem can never be resolved. He alleged that Congress party governments had in the past assured of sealing the borders but only misled because there was no Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh till 2015 .
Sonowal said the border with Bangladesh border was going to be sealed under the Narendra Modi government.
Ram Madhav said that in 1950-51, the then Jawaharlal Nehru government in India had made an Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act and envisaged the need for expelling “illegal” people from Assam.
He said when a similar exercise was being done under the current government, the Congress party was creating a noise. Madhav said that past government did not execute the exercise for political reasons
Madhav said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee changed her stand on the illegal migrants issue after having opposed it and she was now “standing with infiltrators.”
The BJP leader said that today out of 27 districts of Assam, at least 11 districts could be called infiltrators-majority areas. “It is a question of Assam’s cultural, social and political survival.
Madhav claimed the NRC updating exercise was “unbiased and conducted in transparent and scientific manner”. Had the exercise been biased, the cut-off year for Indian citizenship in Assam would have been 1951, the same as for other parts of the country and not 1971 as in the case of Assam.
Madhav said that the BJP government was committed to Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians who come to India as refugees after facing persecution in neighbouring countries. India, he added, has always welcomed people who are in trouble.