NRC a death warrant for Assamese people, says ASM

GUWAHATI: The Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha (), an umbrella organization of the state‘s various indigenous and tribal communities, reiterated its demand on Tuesday that the final draft of () should contain only the names of indigenous people of the state.

The ASM said it feared that if the final draft includes names of those who had come to the state for work and other purposes after 1951, it would not serve the ‘real purpose of identifying outsiders‘.

“If the NRC is updated on the basis of the cutoff date of 1971, we fear that around 70 lakh outsiders living in Assam may become citizens of the country. It may lead to a conflicting situation among the indigenous community of the state and others residing here,” working president of ASM Matiur Rahman alleged.

In February, the ASM and several other organizations representing various indigenous communities from Assam had shot a petition letter to the Chief Justice of India, requesting his intervention to temporarily halt the ongoing update process of the NRC until a petition filed by ASM challenging the Constitutional validity of Section 6 (A) of the Citizenship Act is resolved.

ASM‘s petition opposed that Section 6 (A) of the Citizenship Act, included as an amendment following the Assam Accord of 1985, is unconstitutional. The amendment enabled granting of citizenship to all migrants from Bangladesh who came to Assam till the midnight of March 24, 1971, while the cut-off date for the rest of the country is July 19, 1948.

Rahman questioned, “While the matter is still pending, how is the updating of the NRC on the basis of 1971 cut-off date valid?” He said the ASM expects that a constitutional bench will take up the matter from July 15. Terming the ensuing final NRC draft a ‘death warrant‘ for the people of the state, the Mahasangha alleged that the NRC can turn the indigenous people of the state into a minority.

The first draft of NRC was released on December 31 last year with names of at least 1.9 crore people out of 3.29 crore applicants. The final draft of NRC is slated to be released on June 30.

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