NRC coordinator in Assam H.D. Sarma
NRC coordinator in Assam Hitesh Dev Sarma | Facebook: hitesh.sarma2
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New Delhi: The new state coordinator of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has, in the past, expressed views on social media that could raise questions about how he approaches the contentious exercise.

Hitesh Dev Sarma, a 1989-batch Assam Civil Service (ACS) officer, has made several posts on Facebook which have been critical of “East Pakistani Muslims” (Muslims from Bangladesh) residing in Assam.

In one such post on 1 October 2019, Sarma said: “I like Arnab Goswami’s logic. We cannot accept a foreigner as Indian even if he speaks Assamese…”

Approached for a comment by ThePrint, Sarma refused to comment on whether his posts regarding the NRC would lead to a conflict of interest, adding that his Facebook profile was “very personal”.

Sarma, whose appointment was announced Saturday, replaces Prateek Hajela, who was released from duty on 18 October for inter-cadre deputation to Madhya Pradesh by the Supreme Court. A 1995-batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, Hajela was criticised by the BJP government in Assam, which was unhappy with the large number of Hindus excluded from the final NRC list.

The SC’s decision to transfer Hajela had come a little over a month after the NRC list, which left out over 19 lakh applicants, was published in Assam on 31 August.

However, this is not Sarma’s first NRC stint. An M.A. in economics from Gauhati University, he had served at the NRC Directorate in 2013 too. He was subsequently moved to the Assam Finance and Urban Development Department in 2016.

The official order of the Assam government, dated 9 November 2019, now states that Sarma will serve as secretary to the home and political departments, state coordinator, NRC, and in-charge of the NRC Directorate.


Also read: Why CJI Gogoi is under fire for defending Assam’s NRC while it’s still sub judice


‘What has Assam agitation done to Assamese identity’

In a January 2019 post — written in Assamese — Sarma said “Bengali Muslims from East Pakistan” had taken advantage of the infiltration crisis in Assam. The indigenous populations, he added, have therefore always been sidelined.

In another January 2019 post, Sarma asked: “By giving citizenship to 50 lakh East Pakistanis, how have the participants of the ‘historical’ Assam Agitation contributed to the identity of Assamese people?”

 

Sarma also did not approve of the Assam Accord in a February 2019 post, where he said: “Those who had deceived the Assamese people and the martyrs by signing the Assam Accord in 1985, which allowed inclusion of 50 lakh East Pakistanis, were treated like heroes…”

The Assam Accord states that all those who came to Assam prior to 1 January 1966 would be given citizenship. The ones who came between 1 January 1966 and 24 March 1971 would be detected according to provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946, and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964. It also said that those who came after 24 March 1971, would continue to be detected, and steps would be taken to expel them.

In another post on 1 April 2019, Sarma referred to the partition of Pakistan and “Hindustan” — a word typically associated with identifying India as the land of Hindus.

He said: “Each and every Indian and Assamese must remember what the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan meant.”

In June 2018, Sarma had expressed displeasure that the flag bearers of nationalism were also the ones who facilitated citizenship to 50 lakh “East Pakistanis”.

 


Also read: Like with Rohingyas, Facebook aiding hate speech against Bengali Muslims in Assam: Report


A previous version of the report incorrectly named NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma as Hitesh Raj Sarma. The error has been rectified.

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11 Comments Share Your Views

11 COMMENTS

  1. Do you believe in Indian constitution? I think you haven’t any faith to our constitution so I shocked about how you like people who don’t respect our constitution , get that position. It’s really shameless to us. Our preamble to you mr.
    We the people of India having solemnly resolve the constitute of India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC, REPUBLIC to secure all its citizen….

    Please don’t hurt one religion, if you respect our country then behave like a man to all religios.

  2. By dividing nation in term of religion that doest help you to developed the country after decades also .so stop these nonsense issue .focus on real issue .but you people never focus in mian issue.every year million of people loosed their Job . Also education system become worst day by day.so work these area also

  3. Nobody knows whether the so-called final NRC prepared under the direct control of the honourable Supreme Court and published on 31st August 2019 was submitted to the Supreme Court or to any other authority. It is surprising that the Court who was impatient to complete the NRC refusing extension of time, has not seen the NRC or discussed the NRC in the honorable court.

  4. Der is no Xenophobia involved as said in previous comment by Ashok, but its saving own land, people and resources from 80 lakh to 1 crore illegal east pakistani/bangladeshi immigrants. Those who r advocating for rights of refugees can take them in their own states respectively. We are fighting for the rightsof genuine indigenous Assamese/ethnic communities who are genuine Indians. For the sake of development we cant spare own hard earned money to illegal infiltrators.

  5. @ashok Aren’t you being hypocritical? You are suggesting more integration of Assam and the North East with the rest of India and at the same time want to send Arnab Goswami back to Assam. Why do you guys get uneasy when someone from Assam & the North-East leads the nation – be it Ranjan Gogoi, Arnab Goswami or Mary Kom? Assam and the North-East is indeed very well integrated with the rest of India. It is because you yourself are Xenophobic that you fail to acknowledge this fact.

  6. Physically world is one but we think our worlds .we live in loneliness but wish to listen one otherside . Dividing the world in culture ,language ,livelihood. Expedition to interact, listen to me . Now not language ,of course body language after all we are animal with difference.

  7. Same should start at WB saturatf with illegal infiltrators bv seems Bengal has no civil servant to stand upright for detect and deport the urchins

  8. Baykari kat Jamaydaar hain yay sab loog. Zimmedari kya hai they don’t know. They are thinking that they came into this universe forever, which is wrong. Be keep in memory that you will be invited any time by Almighty and your job and acts what you left behind is accountable.

  9. Should Arnab Goswami be sent back to Assam, to start a small channel, with fifty thousand viewers. The north east has a lot of unique cultural / linguistic / ethnic complexities, which must be handled with sensitivity. However, for the economic progress of its own people, it needs to integrate more deeply with the rest of the country. It is losing out with these elevated levels of xenophobia.

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