BJP Drops NRC from Manifesto, Sparking Concerns for Indigenous Identity in Assam

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“NRC no longer Agenda of BJP – dropped from Manifesto.”

The removal of any mention of the NRC from the BJP’s Manifesto signifies not only the abandonment of its implementation but also dashes the hopes of indigenous people in Assam and the North East to safeguard their identity. With projections indicating Assam becoming a Bangladeshi-origin majority state between 2040 to 2051, the NRC represented a crucial tool for distinguishing citizens from non-citizens and protecting the rights of those who were citizens in 1951.

The Congress’s history of encouraging infiltration from Bangladesh, coupled with continuous infiltration post-independence, necessitated a six-year-long mass movement culminating in the Assam Accord. Despite this, infiltration persisted, resulting in an estimated 80 lakhs infiltrators after 1971, constituting 25% of the population. The BJP, in contrast to Congress’s opposition to the NRC, made it a prime agenda for the North East and included it in its 2019 election manifesto.

However, the decision to drop the NRC from the agenda represents a setback for the indigenous population of Assam, who have long fought for their identity and rights. The Central Government’s Committee under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord recommended reservations based on the 1951 NRC database, providing a safeguard against economic migrants from Bangladesh.

While the 2024 manifesto reaffirms the commitment to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the only viable solution for safeguarding Assam’s indigenous population remains the re-verification of the NRC. With all documents digitized and detailed reports highlighting subversion, a correct NRC database from 1951 can ensure legal safeguards for preserving identity and resources.

The consequences of dropping the NRC from the agenda are dire, particularly for the people of Assam, who sacrificed much during mass agitations. Had it not been for these efforts, the timeline for granting citizenship would have been different, and the need for an NRC process may not have arisen. The blame for this lies squarely on elected leaders who, in their pursuit of power, have betrayed their indigenous community to court the Bangladeshi vote bank.

-Press Release by Upamanyu Hazarika

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