People check their names on the final draft of the state’s National Register of Citizens after it was released, at a NRC Seva Kendra in Nagaon on July 30, — PTI

Unfortunately our own nation, having sought enough inspiration from Israel, is fast slipping in a fascist grip. If the sate endorsed lynching were baby steps, the exclusion of a large Muslim population from Assam NRC is one giant leap towards the annihilation of Indian Muslims.

NIDA FATIMA | Caravan Daily

IN 1937, Hitler led Nazi regime came up with the Madagascar Plan. This plan proposed the deportation of European Jews to the island of Madagascar where it was hoped that they would succumb to the harsh physical conditions. The plan was never executed due to various reasons. But it worked as a stepping stone towards The Final Solution, the genocide of Jews across Europe.

Writers have called the Madagascar Plan a psychological step towards the Final Solution.

Eighty years since, the power play between the persecuted and the persecutor continues on more or less the same pattern. The persecutor wins the allegiance of the bystander, not in a single stroke but in many small strokes, each of which chip away a portion of his conscience, till there comes a time when the bystander becomes a willing party to the ongoing persecution.

It’s an irony, an incomprehensible flip of history, that the then persecuted Jews should a few decades later assume the role of the persecutor, surpassing their own tormentors in unleashing cruelty upon the Palestinian population.

The same people whose persecution, the holocaust remains a landmark event of the 20th century, are an inspiration for fascist and wannabe regimes of the 21st century.

Unfortunately our own nation, having sought enough inspiration from Israel, is fast slipping in a fascist grip. If the sate endorsed lynching were baby steps, the exclusion of a large Muslim population from Assam NRC is one giant leap towards the annihilation of Indian Muslims and realisation of Parivar’s long cherished dream of a Hindu Rashtra.

On the face of it there is nothing in the NRC procedure that discriminates between the applicants on basis of religion. But the claim to being a non immigrant in Assam winds its way through an elaborate process which by its very nature is skewed against the poor, landless, marginalized, uneducated and the resourceless.

It is no wonder thus that 20% of Assams population has not been able to make it to the NRC. And that is just because of a deliberately inefficient procedure set up by a government which while not making any concrete efforts to contain a rapidly deteriorating law and order situation throughout the country is over zealous to declare a massive number of residents as non-citizens.

To what does one attribute something as illogical as the inclusion of one sibling and exclusion of the other sibling, or inclusion of children and exclusion of mother from the from the register of citizens?

What a pity it is to be striped of one’s nationality because of inability to produce documents to prove relationship to those whose names are present in the Legacy Data (copies of NRC, 1951 and the copies of Electoral Rolls up to 1971 are referred to as Legacy Data).

To put it mildly, it is deliberate inefficiency. To put it as it ought to be put, the regime has ulterior motives.

Majority of Assamese Muslims (a large number of them being descendants of peasants who migrated from Bengal before 1971) are poor and uneducated and therefore greatly disadvantaged when it comes to proving their ancestry and claim to Indian citizenship.

The 40 Lac excluded from the NRC are not just Muslims. There are Hindus (in fact some of them the urban elite) who have been left out. But what marks them apart from their Muslim companions is the open support guaranteed to them from the ruling party. The party is confident that the Hindus who fail to make it to the NRC even after settlement of claims and ratification of clerical errors will be rehabilitated in other Indian states. This declaration of support conveys in no uncertain terms that either the party itself has doubts about the validity of the NRC or it has no inhibitions in welcoming infiltrators to the country as long as they subscribe to a particular religious ideology.

Not that the party’s stand has come as a surprise. It is the ready acceptance of bigotry by general populace reflected in lukewarm opposition to this outrageous stand by the ruling party, which is disturbing for the minority that still believes in pluralistic ethos of this nation.

The Muslims who do not make it to the NRC even after corrections and revision face an uncertain future. In absence of any talks with Bangladesh regarding the return of the so called immigrants (who Bangladesh has no reason to accept as its own citizens) they will in all probability end-up in detention centres.

What would it be like to be suddenly rendered stateless with no claim to the land that has been one’s own since birth? How would it feel to be disowned by the very land that one has protected with one’s blood and served with one’s sweat? How is it to stand guard for the nation one’s whole life and end up in a detention centre after being branded as illegal immigrant? Excluded from the final draft after all are people like an armyman, a CISF head constable, a gazetted officer at the Accountant General (Audit) office, an Assistant Sub-Inspector of Assam Police’s Special Branch among many others.

What is the probability of their inclusion in the final list? What is the probability of the next list being free of error given the prevailing standards of efficiency? Not very high one would say.

There is no doubt that there must a certain number of illegal immigrants in Assam or any border state for that matter. What’s disturbing is the faulty procedure adopted for their identification and although unofficial but practically effective religious discrimination in the offing.

In all likelihood Assam NRC is about to set a dangerous precedent for rest of the country and as much as I wish, this write-up could not be ended on a hopeful note.






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