NRC needs a reset to prevent another
cycle of violence in Assam (The Hindu)
Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Foreigners’ Tribunals
Mains level: Significance of NRC
The exclusion of over 1.9 million people from the final National
Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam is only the beginning of a Kafkaesque
nightmare in the border State, especially when neither the Centre nor the
State seem to have a clue about what they plan to do with these “stateless
Those excluded have 120 days to prove that they are Indian or, if
reports from Assam are to be believed, be lodged in the 11 detention centres
that the State government proposes to build in the coming months.
Underlining the situation
Although senior ministers in the State government like Himanta Biswa
Sarma are at pains to underline that no such detainee camps will be set up,
televised images of such an exclusive centre being constructed in Goalpara
are sinister enough to create panic.
The 11 exclusive detention centres are ostensibly going to be
constructed in addition to the already existing six detention centres.
These existing centres house about 1,000 “detected foreigners” under the
special provision for recognising citizenship of persons covered by the
Assam Accord in 6-A of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Additionally, there are
over one lakh “detected foreigners” who have not been detained because there
simply isn’t enough space in the centres.
Absurdly enough, the proposed 11 centres are meant to accommodate the
Senior ministers, especially Sarma, have simultaneously asserted that
Bangladesh should be persuaded to take its citizens back, a statement
fraught with uncertainty because of the process involved in convincing the
neighbouring country to accept those who have been claiming Indian
Role of Foreigners Tribunals
Neither the prospect of lodging, feeding, clothing and detaining such a
large number of people nor pushing them across the border seems to be within
the realm of the possible.
What is likely is that along with the 100 existing Foreigners’ Tribunals
(FTs) in Assam, an additional 400 such tribunals will be set up till
December and the process of hearing appeals by those excluded from the NRC
The BJP, in the meantime, is likely to push the Citizenship Amendment
Bill to accommodate the majority of Hindus who have been excluded from the
This sort of communal segregation has the potential to expose the
Assamese-versus-Bangladeshi fault-line which had plunged the State into a
violent mass movement fuelled by Assamese sub-nationalism in the 1980s.
The best course of action is to revamp the NRC exercise so that the
process of identification becomes more meaningful and the solutions more
realistic and humane.
The migration issue needs to be addressed on multiple fronts, given its
religious and ethnic complexities.
This would include economic and diplomatic engagement with Bangladesh to
reduce the distress on the other side of the border.
Q.1) Consider the following statements in light of a quarter century of
economic reforms: 1. The share of manufacturing in overall GDP is almost stagnant.
2. The growth of agricultural GDP was almost half that of the overall Indian GDP
3. The R and D investments by the private sector have overtaken the investments
by the public sector.
Which of the above is/are correct? a) 1 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 1 and 2 only
d) All of the above
Q.1) To what extent the migration issue needs to be addressed on multiple
fronts, given its religious and ethnic complexities. Comment.