Documentary Captures the Real Picture of Assam Post NRC

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People get their names checked on the draft list at a National Register of Citizens (NRC) Centre in Nagaon on June 26, 2019. —  IANS)

Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI – A documentary on the NRC titled “The state of stateless” has captured the ground realities and its impact on the Assam society. The documentary which was made by the fact-finding team of the United Against Hate (UAH) shows what different sections of the Assamese society feel about the mammoth exercise undertaken to weed out the so-called illegal immigrants.

Grievances, opinions and feelings of various sections of the society – laborers, students, and activists, Nepalese, Hindu and Muslims – the documentary reveals it all. The maker of the documentary, Afroz Ahmed Sahil, told Caravan Daily that he and his team had not planned to make documentary when they were visiting people for the fact-finding purposes.

However, they were shooting videos of those whom his team spoke to during the course of this mission. The idea of making documentary occurred to Sahil out of blue only after they came back Delhi.

“With regard to the NRC, people in Delhi have different kinds of information and thoughts. The media is showing things in a very different way. This is building up a strange kind of perception regarding this. Our aim of making this documentary is to make people aware of the pain of the people living there,” he said.

As regards the severity of the matter, he said, “If one is speaking in front of the camera that he would rather commit suicide than go to detention centre, it means there is something serious.”

A man, Ali Bassu, was shown in the documentary saying he would commit suicide, but will not go to the detention centre.

Sahil, who is a journalist and student of film making, said that he wanted to bring to the people the humanitarian crisis in Assam. His motive behind the documentary is to bring out the complexities of the NRC process and thoughts of native people on the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the NRC process. He wanted to bring out the problems the people have with the NRC process and how the police is torturing them.

The documentary opens with preamble of the Indian constitution: “We the people of India having solemnly resolved to constitute India into sovereign socialist secular democratic republic and to secure for all its citizens Justice, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”

The NRC authority on August 31 released the final list of the citizenship which excluded around 20 lakh people of Assam. The fact-finding team found glaring lacuna and holes in the entire process. It questions the role of foreigners’ tribunals (FTs) in declaring someone foreigners.

In this documentary, those who have been excluded can be seen recounting their ordeal, the pain and trauma while the experts on the issues are pointing out the prejudices and bias in the NRC process.

“Innocent, honest and poor people are being targeted. 95% of them are very poor coming from below poverty line,” said advocate Asim Mubarak.

The documentary also captured the visuals of the detention centres being built in Assam’s Goalpara. The builder proudly claims that it is world’s second largest detention centre. Many claimed to have all the required documents, yet were left out of the NRC’s list. The irony is that there are laborers constructing the detention whose names are not included in the coveted list.

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