Ever since the draft of National Registers of Citizens ( NRC) of Assam has been published, the clouds of uncertainty have been hovering over the future and legal status of almost 4 million people in Assam, which is more than 10 per cent of its total population. There is no denial in the fact that the BJP is fulfilling its electoral promise that it had made during the last assembly elections in the Assam to deport the illegal immigrants who had come from Bangladesh.
However, it should be made sure that this move to identify and deport the illegal immigrants is not carried out at the expense of any Indian citizen bearing the brunt of the faultiness and complexity in the procedure. The final list contains the name of those who were in Assam before 24 March 2017. The government has asserted that the list is not final and those whose names were missed out from the draft due to some reasons they will be given every chance to prove their claims in the court within a stipulated timeframe.
Though this assurance gives another hope to those left out from the list to prove their citizenship to get their names back, yet to presume that only illegal immigrants will be the ones without any evidence to prove their citizenship would not be a fair judgment. From the technical and legal standpoint, it may be justifiable. But in a country like India with poor documentation record, it is very difficult to say that documents as old as four decades will still be found in the offices.
National interest is paramount, but the people who will be deported can’t be just left to die; especially the ones who may not have left any roots in their homeland from where they migrated. Hence, a middle path could be adopted by the government which could resolve the issue of illegal immigrants but at the same time doesn’t leave the millions of people homeless in one go. The issue of illegal immigrants in Assam should be dealt with utmost delicacy.