ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Assam on the Edge Again

Defining Citizenship

The imminent publication of the draft National Register of Citizens in Assam is unlikely to resolve the controversy over illegal immigration from Bangladesh, which spans over four decades.

Much has been written and spoken about the issue of illegal immigration into Assam and other parts of India. But, for Assam— vulnerable, hurt and divided on this issue for decades— it is not one but three processes that have come together during a hugely contested and challenging time. They cannot be divorced from each other; they are the children of suspicion and anxiety. And, they are not stand-alone situations although they address the same issue: illegal immigration from Bangladesh.

While these processes have developed over nearly four decades, the core issue of the “outsider,” the bidekhi and the foreigner, goes back far longer in time in terms of what is seen as the core dispute between “illegal immigrants” and “indigenous” citizens. Among the well meaning and secular, there are few who understand the resonance and anxiety that these concepts bring up.

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Updated On : 31st Jul, 2018
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