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

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National Register of Citizens

Old Divides and New Fissures

Fault lines of the dispute over National Register of Citizens can be traced back to the continuing politics of demography in the history of Assam. Anti-immigrant agitations and violence has been its recurrent feature. The persistent sense of fear of being taken over by immigrants is used to achieve communal polarisation.

Five Bengali Hindus were massacred by unknown gunmen on 2 November 2018 raising the spectre of potential violence that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) could unleash. It brings back the memories of the anti-Bengali riots of 1948, 1954, 1955, 1960, and the murder of Rabi Mitra, Anjan Chakraborty, Nellie and Gohpur carnage that occurred during the anti-foreign national movement. While all sections of people have condemned the violence, the Assamese are steadfastly behind the updated NRC which has listed 4,00,707 persons, most of whom are Bengalis, both Hindu and Muslim, to be illegal migrants to Assam and face the prospect of being deported or declared stateless. Interestingly, while there is widespread criticism against the move across the world, none of the Assamese intellectuals, of any ideological shade, have critiqued it indicating their support. Statelessness is being seen as a profound violation of human rights which is one of the most urgent humanitarian concerns of the 21st century. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that “Everyone has the right to a nationality” and that “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality.” Despite this guarantee, the prospect of living without a nationality or citizenship is a growing concern all over the world and now Assam joins the scenario.

Politics of Demography

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Updated On : 26th Nov, 2018
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