The All Assam Students' Union (AASU), which spearheaded a six-year-long agitation against illegal immigrants in 1980s, Wednesday alleged that certain pro-influx forces were trying to disrupt the ongoing exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC). AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya claimed that forged documents were found in several parts of Assam in the recent past which suggest that efforts are on to include illegal immigrants in the final NRC list.
"We have information that certain pro-illegal immigrants forces are trying to disrupt and delay the NRC process," he told PTI. The allegation by the AASU came less than a month before the publication of the final NRC, a list of Assam's residents.
When the draft NRC was published on July 30 last year, there was a huge controversy over the exclusion of 40.7 lakh people from it. The draft NRC included names of 2.9 crore people out of the total 3.29 crore applicants. The names of over a lakh more people were also excluded in a list published last month. The final list of the NRC will be published on July 31 this year.
Bhattacharya said the process of updating the NRC reached its final stage only due to the constant monitoring by the Supreme Court. He alleged that since the beginning of the process, certain forces were desperately trying to protect the interests of foreigners living illegally in Assam and such forces were still trying to disrupt the process and create confusion among people.
The AASU leader said the government should take strong action against anyone found to be involved in such a conspiracy. Bhattacharya said verification of documents submitted along with claims and objections were in the final stage and appealed to all officers and staff involved in the process including the State NRC Coordinator, Deputy Commissioners, Additional Deputy Commissioners, Circle officers and others to ensure that no foreign national can get his or her name included in the NRC.
The Supreme Court-monitored NRC exercise, aimed at identifying illegal immigrants, was carried out only in Assam which faced an influx of people from Bangladesh. When the NRC was first prepared in Assam in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens. According to the 2011 census, the state's total population is over 3.11 crore.
The process of identification of illegal immigrants in the state has been widely debated and become a contentious issue in state politics. A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the AASU in 1979. It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in presence of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
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