Wednesday, 25 May, 2022
HomeJudiciaryArmchair commentators, media distorted picture of NRC, says CJI Ranjan Gogoi

Armchair commentators, media distorted picture of NRC, says CJI Ranjan Gogoi

Speaking at a book launch, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said NRC was meant to ‘allay rumours’ & give some certainty on illegal immigration.

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New Delhi: Armchair commentators are responsible for the “distorted picture” presented on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said Sunday.

“National discourse has seen the emergence of armchair commentators who present a distorted picture,” he stated, addressing the launch of a book titled ‘Postcolonial Assam 1947-2019’ by documentary maker and author Mrinal Talukdar.

“Armchair commentators and their vile intentions let rumour mills flourish. Assam and its development agenda have been victims of such commentators,” said Gogoi, adding that the “emergence of social media… has fuelled these double-speaking commentators”.

“They launch tirades against democratic institutions,” he added.

Gogoi, who was born in Assam, is the first judge from the northeast to serve as CJI. His term ends 17 November.

The NRC is a controversial exercise meant to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh currently living in Assam, an emotive issue in the state for decades.

Its final draft was published 31 August and reportedly left out around 19 lakh applicants, who, however, have the option to appeal their exclusion.

Talking about the exclusions, Gogoi said the “NRC was a base document for the future”, and the numbers did not matter.

“Assam NRC is not a document of the moment… But a base document for the future. A document on which we can determine future claims,” he added. “Nineteen lakh or 40 lakh is not the point.”

Speaking at Sunday’s event, Gogoi said the NRC was “neither a new nor a novel idea”. He said the current exercise was an attempt to allay rumours and give some “certainty on the degree of illegal immigrant influx”.

Also read: Clamour for NRC not different from the notion that more Muslims mean threat to Hindu society

‘Callous reporting by media’

The CJI, who has presided over the Supreme Court bench dealing with the NRC issue and received continuous reports while the final list was being prepared, also accused the media of launching a “tirade against democratic institutions”.

“Over the decades, there was enormous amount of guesswork about illegal immigration, which in turn fuelled panic of vicious cycles,” he said.

“Callous reporting by few media worsened the situation. The current Assam NRC attempts to give some degree of certainty on illegal influx,” he added. “This is neither a new or novel idea and has found expression in 1951.”

The speech by the CJI came soon after a United States-based not-for-profit organisation Avaaz released a report that said violent hate speech targeting ethnic and religious minorities in Assam was viewed at least 54 lakh times on Facebook during the preparation of the NRC.

The Avaaz report, titled ‘Megaphone for Hate’, said Bengali Muslims in particular were targets of hatred on Facebook, with content referring to them as “criminals”, “rapists”, “terrorists”, “pigs”, and “dogs” being shared over 1,00,000 times.

It was in December 2014 that a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi & Rohinton Fali Nariman mandated the government of India to complete the finalisation of the NRC by 1 January 2016. However, it was only published this year.

On 19 October, a bench led by CJI Gogoi directed the Centre and the Assam government to transfer NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela “forthwith” to Madhya Pradesh for the maximum period possible, without stating any reason.

Sources had earlier told ThePrint that Hajela had requested a transfer in view of threats he had received in the wake of the NRC exercise.

Also read: Prateek Hajela — the ‘outsider’ who helped Assam determine who are its own


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  1. As Gogoi took birth in Assam as I was born. Only difference is I was born on 30/11/1950.I have seen by 1960,when I started realizing little bit about surroundings.
    I very vividly can recollect that by that time several people asking for alms were not seen b4. He used call him “Charan Kavi” &used to sing “Gai bhashar jayo gan, sarga haite matri bhashar, bhai re adhiko sanman”.These songs were sung in memory killed by Pakistan forces during” Bangla Bhasha Andolan” in Dhaca,East Pakistan.
    Then many people came& were allowed to be settled on the Indian Railways Lands beyond rail line till the boarders of public agricultural land.
    Living their for long years they slowly captured public agricultural lands adjacent to the railway lines.
    By that time central government announced to recognize state languages which had more than 60% of population of that language living in the state speaking in that language. By then (1958),Tamilnadu the then Madras, started movement for the central government recognition of Tamil as their state language. There were great violence and their chief operator of the movement died after 58 days of long prolonged fasting, violence increased to its optimum&Nehru had to accept their demand.
    But as the present day Andhrapradesh was within Madrass Residency with different language, the started demanding a separate state for Telegu speaking people.
    Anyway those initiation of state language by the centre sparked a small hope of light in the minds of Ahom people, who also wanted their Assamese language to be the state language of the Assam state. Slowly they started their movement to pacify their demand.
    But the then Assam had different problems. That time it was a multilingual state & none had the criteria to fulfill the 60% bench mark to demand state language of their own. There were districts like Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh who had their own language other than Assamese. There were ample amount of Bengali people who migrated to Assam after partition.
    Now to fulfill the minimum 60% criteria for Assamese, districts of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Arunachal Pradesh had to be separated from the Assam state. So, there were full statehood demand from all these districts which were seen as a demands by default. Assam government also gave their nood to facilitate their paths of Assamese language state.
    But even than Assamese language was not being able to fulfill the 60% criteria as long as the Bengali linguistic people were there. So, Assamese people started violence against Bengali speaking people so that they leave Assam for all. Then started free India’s first exodus of Bengali speaking people from Assam to West Bengal.
    One Mr. Gopal Mukherjee or Chatterjee, I don’t remember, was a member of West Bengal Assembly nick named “Gopal Patha”, under CM, Bidhan Chandra Roy, who marched to the West Bengal Assam boarder, threatening to enter Assam if atrocities against Bengali speaking people was not stopped immediately.
    Than Centre had to intervene to stop the riots ( It was riots between Hindu Bengali speaking people &Assamese).
    By 1961, 11 Bengali speaking peaceful protesters were killed by police gun fire in Tarapur Railway Station, Silchar.
    In the meantime Assamese leadership in Assam were convinced by the Congress government in Centre to allow East Pakistani Muslim Bengali’s to come across & settled in Assam on condition that they would write Assamese as their mother language.
    That time East Pakistan was in great linguistic turmoil with their Western counterparts i.e West Pakistan who were bent upon to make Punjabi their country’s state language. Bengali’s in East Pakistan didn’t accept it & there was a tug of war between East & West Pakistan over language. The Punjabi Pakistani leaders made the life of East Pakistan Bengali speaking people hell.
    Because of this, many poor East Pakistani Bengali speaking muslims started entering Assam in huge number.
    They were the people who were told to write Assamese language as their mother tongue, they did it in that way as was wanted by the then Congress Assamese government in Assam. Even than Assamese couldn’t be made official language of Assam government which started as a three language formula given by the special committee formed by the Centre to bring down the enemity between two class of citizens.
    But those muslims who wrote Assamese as their mother tongue started increasing their numbers so much so that they started influencing the decisions of the government which in further long course of time started becoming a contentious matter between the Assamese & migrated East Pakistani Bengali speaking people who wrote Assamese as their mother tongue.
    It retained such a high pulverizing situation that Hindu Assamese speaking people were unable to bear it anymore. Then aroused a big deep gorgeous between this two once upon a conditional ally.
    That time again Assamese found themselves a minority in Assam state. In many districts East Pakistani Bengali speaking people became majority, making Assamese people compelled to face existential problems.
    That time BJP came as a rescuer of the Assamese people. BJP made Assamese to understand that they should side with Hindu Bengali speaking people for their survival.
    Now in this situation Assam is running its government. This is just a small real short story of Assam going for NRC to identify those East Pakistani Bengali speaking people whom Assamese once allowed illegal entry under Congress government servilence who turned thorn into their throat.
    But as they were allowed to express them as Assamese, now their many generations down the line, they are almost going to form Muslim Assam government without any help from others. This was proved by Mrs. Indira Gandhi by making muslim woman CM government during’70’s.

  2. Ms Ruhi Tewari is one of several thoughtful commentators who have sensitised people all over the country to the unfolding human tragedy of NRC. It may have been better if the process had not been pushed forward so aggressively. Half way across the world, the a House of Representatives had expressed serious misgivings about the issue of human rights being impacted by this exercise. If the exercise were indeed so impeccable in every sense, our country would not have informed Bangladesh that this was purely an internal matter and that no deportations would take place.

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