Guwahati, August 24: The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), a stakeholder in the NRC case in the Supreme Court, has criticized the government’s proposal to extend legal assistance to those excluded from the final NRC as an “anti-Assamese” move.
“The announcement that came after a meeting between Union home minister Amit Shah and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in New Delhi — that it will provide legal assistance to those who do not make it to the NRC — goes against the indigenous people and will encourage foreigners,” Aasu chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya said on Friday.
The influential students’ body had led the six-year-long anti-foreigner agitation that, eventually, forced the government to initiate the ongoing NRC update process, also called the announcement “confusing, conspiratorial and needless.”
Hitting out at the government for another statement — that no one left out of the final NRC will automatically be considered an illegal migrant —the student body said it nullifies the purpose of the update. “It has also been stated that those left out of the final NRC are not illegal migrants. Legally, everyone knows this,” Aasu president Dipanka Kumar Nath said.
“But it is also a fact that the NRC is going to exclude those who have failed to prove their identity with documents issued prior to 1971 — exactly as per Supreme Court guidelines. The update was done through a legal process, under the supervision of the Supreme Court, over a period of six years. Those who could not prove their citizenship under this process are obviously illegal foreigners,” he added. The students’ body also said that the Union home ministry’s recent decision to extend the time frame for inclusion appeals at the foreigners’ tribunals — from 60 to 120 days —will also “embolden illegal foreigners”.
“We will hold the Centre and the Assam government responsible if any illegal foreigner gets included in the citizenship register due to their failure in taking timely and effective steps,” Aasu said. (TNN)