File photo | People queue to check their names on the final draft of the state's National Register of Citizens in Morigaon, July 2018 | PTI
File photo | People queue to check their names on the final draft of the state's National Register of Citizens in Morigaon, July 2018 | PTI
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After much hype, confusion, politics and processes, the updated list of Assam’s National Register of Citizens — NRC — is finally out. Around 19 lakh people have been excluded. Considering 3.29 crore people applied in the first place, less than 6 per cent have been found not to be ‘genuine’ Indian citizens.

Incidentally, this figure is far less than what the leaders of the 1979 Assam Agitation would have anticipated, which is why they agitated in the first place and succeeded in getting the Rajiv Gandhi government to agree to update the 1951 NRC as part of the 1985 Assam Accord. And this is precisely why this exercise has been a complete waste — redundant in the current context and late by at least three decades. This figure, in fact, knocks the bottom off the original Assam movement. It indicates how the entire talk of demographic imbalance was more a fallacy than fact.

Also read: Children out, parents in: The real challenge begins now that final Assam NRC is here

A senseless endeavour

Essentially, the NRC exercise has achieved little — except to create panic in a state, cause unnecessary confusion and discomfort to Assam residents, give India a bad name, eat into the Supreme Court’s precious time, cost over Rs 1,100 crore and waste human resources to the tune of more than 62,000 workers and most dangerously, give the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party a potent tool to further its Hindutva politics, thus polarising the state.

The idea behind updating the NRC was to identify those who immigrated ‘illegally’ from Bangladesh, keeping 24 March 1971, as the cut off date. This was a long-standing demand of the people of Assam, who harboured resentment against ‘outsiders’ for eating into their share of resources and benefits. Never mind that the anger was against all ‘outsiders’, which BJP has doggedly tried to convert to one against just Muslim immigrants.

The widespread resentment and anger was because the ethnic Assamese believed illegal immigrants had trooped in and encroached on their rights in swelling numbers. But a mere 6 odd per cent would hardly explain that decades-old indignation and hostility.

Not to forget this number will go down even further. Consider this, after the two draft lists, 40 lakh people were left out. In the claims and objections process that followed, over 20 lakh were clearly able to prove their exclusion was wrongful and thus, get their names into the final list. The ones left out even now cannot be declared ‘foreigners’ right away, and a due process that involves appeals in the Foreigners Tribunal and courts will follow. In that course, several others might also succeed in proving their citizenship, lowering the number even further.

Speaking at ThePrint’s Off The Cuff in August 2018, senior BJP minister in Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma had claimed that those who did migrate illegally after 1971 will “just disappear”. If that turns out to be true, the number of those left as illegal immigrants will see a further drop.

So, in the current context, the NRC has been an absolutely pointless and senseless endeavour — as provocative as that might sound. Imagine those who did come in from Bangladesh illegally after 1971 would now have their third generation living in Assam, who know of only this state as their home. And obviously, most have been able to generate the required legacy documents as well.

Also read: Pakistan doesn’t give citizenship on religion, but India is dangerously tilting towards it

BJP’s move now

The most notable thing that has happened in the entire process, inadvertently, is that the BJP got a dangerous instrument to further its majoritarian politics. The party, however, is evidently out of its depth for now. This list isn’t full of Muslims, as it had hoped, and has Bengali Hindus, Nepalis and even some from the indigenous Assamese tribes who perhaps did not have the mandatory paperwork. The BJP’s panic knocks at the SC’s door asking for re-verification, particularly in areas bordering Bangladesh, fearing wrongful inclusions, has been telling.

The disconcerting part going forward would be to see how the BJP tries to get out of the sticky situation and send a political message by ensuring that the Hindus left out can wriggle back in. The proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is the antidote it is looking for, but which is actually a disaster in the making.

In the end, this behemoth of an exercise has turned out to be a case of the famous Hindi proverb — Khoda pahad, nikla chooha (You dig a mountain only to find a mouse). The BJP, of course, would like to believe it found “deemak” (termite) and not a mouse, given its president Amit Shah’s fondness for referring to infiltrators as “termites” who deserve to be thrown into the Bay of Bengal.

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35 Comments Share Your Views


    • I think there are 1.35 billion Indians who are pro India, would give their lives for it, if required. It causes them extraordinary pain when the Last Post is sounded in honour of those who have, makes them wonder if there are ways to prevent these tragedies from taking place. Let us stop dividing such a beautiful country into two camps. And no one, absolutely no one, has the right to award Certificates of Nationalism, Patriotism, Belonging.

  1. The final figure if it comes to say 15 lakhs of illegals, is neither large, nor is it very small. Some proper plans should be made for those declared foreigners so that they contribute to the economy.
    In a sensitively located State like Assam , the NRC was required , but the locals , the Assam BJP and the Centre must respect the results and not try and distort it or try and divert attention by holding such exercises everywhere.
    In future such a problem may not arise since the borders are much better policed now.

  2. What next? Of those 19 lakhs how many will be deported back and where do they be deported? If that country deny that they are their citizens then what is the course of action? How many years they will be spending in concentration camps? If there is no answers from the Govt. on these issues, the whole process will be doomed or prove to be a worst humanitarian crisis in South Asia bringing International shame to India.

    • You need to ask your atheist Chinese friends. They retool and recondition the broken mental state of muslims in Xinjiang concentration camps. Hindu India is still humane because it follows dharma unlike islam. islam is only about sex and money.

  3. Going by author Ruhi Tewari’s numbers, 6% of 3.29 crore applicants are illegal immigrants, which works out to be 19,740,000 (19 million) in one state. Why’s that number not significant? What kind of la la land is she living in?

    Further, she conveniently left out how many of those 19 million illegals are muslims. As islam expands, it’s doesn’t grow tolerant, but becomes aggressive and violent!

    “As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:
    United States — Muslim 0.6%
    Australia — Muslim 1.5%
    Canada — Muslim 1.9%
    China — Muslim 1.8%
    Italy — Muslim 1.5%
    Norway — Muslim 1.8%

    At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs.
    This is happening in:
    Denmark — Muslim 2%
    Germany — Muslim 3.7%
    United Kingdom — Muslim 2.7%
    Spain — Muslim 4%
    Thailand — Muslim 4.6%

    From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply. This is occurring in:
    France — Muslim 8%
    Philippines — 5%
    Sweden — Muslim 5%
    Switzerland — Muslim 4.3%
    The Netherlands — Muslim 5.5%
    Trinidad & Tobago — Muslim 5.8%

    At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

    When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris, we are already seeing car burnings. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam, with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections, in:
    Guyana — Muslim 10%
    India — Muslim 13.4%
    Israel — Muslim 16%
    Kenya — Muslim 10%
    Russia — Muslim 15%

    After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:
    Ethiopia — Muslim 32.8%

    At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:
    Bosnia — Muslim 40%
    Chad — Muslim 53.1%
    Lebanon — Muslim 59.7%

    From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia law as a weapon, and jizya, the tax placed on infidels, such as in:
    Albania — Muslim 70%
    Malaysia — Muslim 60.4%
    Qatar — Muslim 77.5%
    Sudan — Muslim 70%

    After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some state-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:
    Bangladesh — Muslim 83%
    Egypt — Muslim 90%
    Gaza — Muslim 98.7%
    Indonesia — Muslim 86.1%
    Iran — Muslim 98%
    Iraq — Muslim 97%
    Jordan — Muslim 92%
    Morocco — Muslim 98.7%
    Pakistan — Muslim 97%
    Palestine — Muslim 99%
    Syria — Muslim 90%
    Tajikistan — Muslim 90%
    Turkey — Muslim 99.8%
    United Arab Emirates — Muslim 96%
    100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace. Here there’s supposed to be peace, because everybody is a Muslim, the Madrasses are the only schools, and the Koran is the only word, such as in:

    Afghanistan — Muslim 100%
    Saudi Arabia — Muslim 100%
    Somalia — Muslim 100%
    Yemen — Muslim 100%

    Unfortunately, peace is never achieved, as in these 100% states the most radical Muslims intimidate and spew hatred, and satisfy their blood lust by killing less radical Muslims, for a variety of reasons.”

    Source Book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat, written by Dr. Peter Hammond

    Has Ruhi Tewari forgotten the raping of non-islamic women in Bangladesh or the recent rape and killings of Yazidi people? Why is she so oblivious to the terror of islam’s followers? Does it have to knock on her doors for her to have that realization? Why are the numerous victim’s pain and suffering at the hands of islam’s followers insignificant?

    • Muslims ruled this country for over 400 years before British takeover but at the time of Independence their population is just 10% of the total population. If I go by all the crap written by you, the muslim population could be 100% in 400 years…at least in your North India. Don’t spread hatred and don’t be panic with such hallucinations.

      • If the British had not conquered India, your wish would have come true. Still, they managed to eke out Pakistan. prophet changed everything into a weapon! Food, dress, sex, animals, book, people and what not!…No wonder, islam was able to convert Christian dominant countries like Turkey, North Africa and others into islamic havens. The former Buddhist strongholds of Afghanistan has no Buddhists. They have completely wiped out other faiths in those places. Where are the Hindu temples of Pakistan? They’re all destroyed in mere 70 years. US schools are now serving halaal food and even managed to proudly elect two representatives with hijab sacks over their heads. With local cops on md.’s payrolls, missions in Australia and US tiptoe around islamic pockets to avert confrontation or avoid those forbidden areas altogether. They have taken over Europe and managed to make it a crime to talk against islam. Wherever, islam is the predominant religion, it roots out other religious completely. islam cannot coexist with other religions. It’s bound by its prophet’s decree.

        “The decadal population growth rate for Muslims in India was recorded at 24.60 (2001-2011 decade) which was a sharp fall from the previous rate of 29.52% (for the decade of 1991-2001). However, this is the fastest population growth rate for any religious community in India. The national average for this period (2001-2011) was 18%. Their population has risen from 13.4 per cent to 14.2 per cent of the total population of India in the same period.” Source: Census 2011

      • Thanks! Assam is not a big state. It’s ranked 16 out of 27 in terms of size and 2 million is a lot of mouths competing for dwindling resources in a small state!

    • What a rant against Muslims. And this Dr. Hammond you quote is a Christian theologian. That says it all.

      Let me remind you, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao and Stalin were not Muslims. Every culture has its ‘heroes’.

      In any case, the current problem of Assam doesn’t have anything to do with Muslims but with the fact that how do you arbitrarily start making people homeless and stateless. This is irrespective of their religion.

      • You say, “…irrespective of their religion”, but diss Dr. Hammond’s findings just because he’s a Christian. Being a Christian doesn’t make his findings less truthful. You have nothing to counter about the frightening trend of islam’s nature in those countries because it’s the truth. islam CANNOT coexist with other religions. By the way, Hitler is still muslim’s favorite leader. Go ask muslims or google it.

        • There you go again. Give me 30 minutes and I’ll tear this Dr. Hammond’s hypothesis apart. No one apart from some Conservative commentators take him seriously.

          Islam has its problems. No doubt. But to be dismissive of it on such a scale in just intellectual laziness.

          You need to tone down your hatred of Muslims.

    • Ridiculous article ! Facts on the ground clearly show the ongoing invasion. Selective ‘facts’, presenting a one-sided view, leads to “fake news”.

  4. Yes Ruhi Tiwari please collect your certificate from Al Jazira, BBC, Reuters for being a liberal and yes, to hell with local Assamese people especially those 800 unfortunate youth who died protesting illigal migration . Who gives a damn about them.

  5. How come one in sixteen is an insignificant number! Was Ruhi expecting 100 lacs or more? Which colored glasses Ruhi is wearing. 16 Lacs may be equal to the population of a large mid size city in Assam or I can see it like every sixteenth house in Ruhi’s neighborhood. BJP hatred has blinded some journalist that even fake news portraying BJP in bad light brings big smile on their faces even though it may last only few minutes..

    • That illegal immigrants have come to India from Bangladesh is an undeniable fact. Even one is one too many. The effort now should be to ensure foolproof border management. This would be supplemented by the fact that Bangladesh is doing much better economically, the earlier pressure to escape poverty is off. 2. What Ms Ruhi Tewari, who has written several thoughtful columns on this issue, was trying to highlight is that the scale of illegal immigrants detected by this tortuous exercise does not substantiate the fear that has been created of India being swamped by illegal immigrants. Itne toh unauthorised Indians aap ko Britain aur America mein milenge.

      • You must taste living illegally in UK or USA. Then only you’ll realise how hard these governments will come down on you. Unlike India, you’ll also know that UK or US citizens will not agitate and abuse their government for deporting you back. Also Whatever may be the expectations, 6% illegal immigrant is not a small number. This is not a failure but an achievement of the government. Why has Ruhi not appreciated the government effort? I don’t see a problem if she had limited to the cost incurred. But she declared the exercise as useless is uncalled for.

        If Assam has detected 19 lacs illegal immigrants, how many more remain undetected throughout India. The news of several lacs living in J & K is a known fact. As per reports the total number of illegal immigrants in USA from the whole of Asia including china, India, pakistan and is not more than 15 lacs and the mexicans being double of that. It looks Modi haters can’t digest their daily meal without mindlessly accusing the government.

        • So what are you going to do with these ‘illegal’ citizens? Throw them into the sea? Gosh. Where do you guys have your brains and hearts?

          And who is saying that it’s only Modi and the BJP? It started with the Congress. And the Supreme Court is also fully complicit.

          This problem has no solution. The US has more than 12 million illegals (your figures above are wrong). They can stop new ones coming in. But they can’t deport who is already there.

          BTW, on many counts Bangladesh nnow is more advanced than India. Soon you’ll have reverse migration. That’s human history.

  6. I would agree with the writer that this was an exercise in futility. It is similar to the Jain Commission inquiring into the conspiracy behind the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. After repeated extensions and crores of rupees, not to mention the man hours, it ended up admitting that it could not decode the plot behind it. But Govts don’t mind spending tax payers’ money to further their own electoral interests.
    The best thing now is to say that those who are finally declared illegal immigrants will not be entitled to Govt jobs or to vote in elections., and increase our vigilance at the borders.

  7. Not exactly ! The influx of foreign illegal migrants has been continuing unabated since 30 decades and successive Congress Rule in the state only turning a blind eye in an effort to consolidate their grip from the Muslim votes by ever changing demographics of these regions like Assam, WB , Tripura & Meghalaya. Its about time when these illegal immigrants walk on the streets of Delhi. NRC may not be a perfect step to identify illegal immigrants but what is the other alternative: talk about it endlessly? Influx of illegal immigrants continues to this day…..maybe NRC discourages that….only time will tell ! In 1971 Indira Gandhi said illegal Bangladeshi refugees should go back.1985 Rajiv Gandhi signed the Assam Accord promising NRC.From 1986 to 2013, The Congress Govt could pull it off.It in 2013 onwards, NRC work actually started. Around 31121004 persons were included in the NRC and those not included can file appeal before Foreigners Tribunals. And those even after appeals who could not make it to NRC could not vote and loses citizenship rights. They may well approach The Print Office, after reading this report today, who I suppose have all the credentials to prove they are Indian Citizens after all !!!!!

    • Sharmaji, India has been independent for 7 decades and you say Congress has been going on for 30 decades. You hate the Congress so much that you’re making a Freudian slip.

      If you apply the same level of documentation required for citizenship to the rest of India, a lot of people will not pass the test. This is for the simple reason that India is not 100% literate.

      Is this so difficult to understand?

      What is next? Send back Assamese from the rest of India back?

      • Rajiv ji my bad ! I should have been careful for the typos ! 30 decades should have been 30 years …. a ballpark estimate that cane to my head from the time of Assam Accord ! Agreed.
        As for your sweeping judgment of literacy I do not know how to comment because I am not no inclined to judge someone in a jiffy!
        Well trolled …. have it your way !
        But for me all I try is to keep it real !
        My 2 cents,

        • As I wrote, it was a Freudian slip. It was clear that you didn’t mean 30 decades (though probably in your heart you did ;).

          It’s not a question of intelligence, but to have basic decency as a human being.

          The BJP now wants to apply the same criteria used in Assam to the rest of the country.

          Now does this make sense in a country with still so much of illiteracy? What about people who can’t prove their citizenship?

          Think about it for a moment.

  8. Does it mean that there are no illegal entrants from bangladesh ? The media needs to be rational and stop assuming that people are fools … such articles and writeups no longer fool anyone … The earlier these journos internalise this it will be better for them …. Be rational, balanced and honest and understand the ground realities …

  9. It is indeed a wasteful exercise.Actually it has its genesis on Assam agitation bordering on separatism of sixties against indigineous Bengali population which gradually transformed into anti bangladeshi minorities agitation because the ausu and Assamese in general believed Cong party has facilitated illegal immigration of B’deshi muslims for vote bank purposes.They believe nearly 1 crore illegal B’deshi to be in IndiA.Then what is 19 lacs ? Given this background what purpose it has served other than untold misery to ppl and we still do not know what consequences it is going to have.Only way is to be vigilant and check illegal immigrants at borders,identify them and take immediate steps to deport them.It has to be a continuous job to not allow it to assume such monumental proportions.


  10. I’ll update the author’s Hindi a bit: khoda pahad, nikli chuhiya, woh bhi mari huyee.

    An apt saying for the BJP.

    Is it any wonder that the economy is going to the dogs? If the BJPs (and the Supreme Court’s) best minds are busy with such futile, inhumane exercises, where will they get the time for serious and boring things like the economy? It has few people with brains to begin with.

  11. It was a racist exercise. An abomination!
    In the UK and America there are plenty of immigrants from a INDIA, if there were agitation against then the good people of these countries would speak up against racism..
    The Hindus a minority abroad howl against discrimination, but support the BJP, the oppressors of the minority in India. Modi gets a huge reception from Indians living abroad.
    Assam local newspapers have always said, that the tribunals have been very strict on Muslims and lenient on Hindus,. The talk going around is –
    “look for reasons to EXCLUDE if the individual is a Muslim
    – look for reasons to INCLUDE if the individual is a Hindu”.
    The people responsible for administration and creation of the register have only 1% Muslim representation and many of those employed in this task it is alleged belong to the RSS.
    This is another confirmation that this BJP government uses all methods to reduce Muslims into second class citizens.

    • India is not Arabia get this into your mind. If west goes against migration ofcourse those people will comeback. You convert should not worry about that.

  12. It should cause pain to all Indians of good conscience. One hopes CJI Ranjan Gogoi, someone who appreciates the nuances of Assam, will now find a way to bring legal closure to this wild goose chase. The simplest course of action would be to require the Union Government to state on affidavit whether it proposes to deport to Bangladesh all those individuals who, after exhausting all legal remedies, are found to be illegal immigrants. Further, whether assurances have been conveyed to the government of Bangladesh, by senior functionaries, that no one will be deported. 2. A broader point. The north east should come out of its We all wish to live in an anthropological museum, preserve our distinct identity and culture. Time to mix a little more generously with the gene pool of the rest of India. That would bring more genuine development to this beautiful region than subventions payments from the Centre.


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