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

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National Register of Citizens

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Sajal Nag’s article “National Register of Citizens: Old Divides and New Fissures” (EPW, 24 November 2018) starts with a misconception. The slaughter of five totally innocent and unsuspecting Bengalis by “unknown miscreants” was not a heinous response to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), but a purported reaction to the Citizenship Act (Amendment) Bill 2016, which is being craftily and ruthlessly pushed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, both at the centre and the state with the intent of nullifying the Assam Accord. Indeed, it is widely suspected here that the massacre had been staged to provoke panic among Bengalis in order to garner their votes and wreck the NRC process.

Actually, before rashly rushing into a blind ethnic scuffle, both communities had better realise that the problem was a legacy of calculated and nefarious colonial design. The British rulers allowed both the Bengali and Assamese nationalities to develop but under conditions of, and in ways favourable to, colonial manipulation and distortion. Among other things, Bengali-speaking Sylhet remained amalgamated with Assam not only without any justification except the interest of colonial administration, but it also made for a religious composition enabling British rulers to continue their century-long game plan of throwing two major Indian population groups into perpetual conflict.

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Updated On : 14th Dec, 2018

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