Over 19 lakhs excluded in Assam NRC:
Need to be on vigil
Over 19 lakh people left out of the just published National Register of Citizens in Assam and not everyone is happy about the outcome. The BJP in Assam has already spoken out their dissatisfaction with what it says is a small figure of just a little over 19 lakhs and if one goes by what it has had to say then it becomes clear why Assam burnt for years over the foreigners’ issue in the 80s and led to the signing of the Assam Accord back then. It is also significant to note that former Chief Minister of Assam Hiteswar Saikia of the Congress had at one point of time stated that the there are 3 million illegal Bangladeshis in Assam. Does the final NRC list address the grievances of the people of Assam, is a question that is bound to arise in the coming days. Not surprising that the NRC exercise in Assam has evoked much interest in Manipur, for remember Manipur too has been demanding a mechanism something like the NRC to weed out the illegal non-indigenous folks and those spearheading the movement had set 1951 as the base year to identify the genuine citizens of Manipur. Here again it becomes interesting to note that the base year for the Assam NRC was set at 1971. And when one talks about the interest in Manipur, one cannot help but feel the need to intensify vigil at the points bordering Assam for there is just no telling where those excluded in the Assam NRC will head towards. Will they go back to their original place or try to sneak into the neighbouring States to find shelter ? This is a question which the BJP led Government at Imphal cannot afford to overlook for the possibility of those left out of the Assam NRC making a beeline for the State cannot be ruled out.
The NRC exercise may have been for Assam alone but it has all the potential to impact on the other States as well, especially in a State like Manipur which does not have any Constitutional protection, save for the hill districts. This is where the demand raised by the JCILPS to enact a Bill to check the inflow of non-locals into the State gains credence. At the moment, reports of numerous non-locals detected, while trying to enter Manipur sans any documents, and handed over to the authorities concerned by volunteers of the JCILPS have come in and with the Assam NRC out, there is the possibility of more such incursion into the State in the future. The situation is all that more scary given the fact that a number of Rohingyas were found entering the State and taking shelter here. Enact a Bill to regulate the inflow of others, let the people cultivate work culture and yes come down hard on all found giving shelter and helping foreigners enter the territory of Manipur. This goes against the demand to regulate the influx of non-locals into Manipur. So while many have expressed dissatisfaction with the NRC exercise at Assam, the fact remains that the State Government should leave nothing to chance and increase the vigil at the border areas, particular the entry point into the State. Jiribam is most vulnerable at this point and all the more reason to be on extra vigil there.