The Supreme Court direction to the state of Assam to publish the National Registry of Citizens has now opened a debate across different states, for the necessity of similar data on the citizens residing in their respective states.
It seems that the acceptability is high among the people for an exercise like NRC, which accounts for the actual citizens of the land. The recent Assam NRC has proved that, despite some shortcomings, the majority of the people are willing to participate in an event which could weed out illegal immigrants from the country.
After Assam, many states have been thinking of having its own population registry. The cry is far louder in states bordering other countries, especially in the east. The rampant illegal immigration occurred in the past with the alleged support of some political parties like Congress, to change the demographics to influence the electoral politics has caused a furore in the some of the eastern and North-eastern states.
The political parties in Bengal have been demanding the state government to publish its own NRC, as Bengal has been one of the largest victims of cross-border people movement. Recently, senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya said that an exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be conducted in West Bengal if the BJP comes to power. He blazed guns against the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her stand on NRC and accused her of “siding with infiltrators” for the sake of votes.
The North-Eastern states are demanding for such a massive public exercise from a very long time. Recently, the North East Students Organisation (NESO) has demanded implementation of the NRC across the North East. In a recent meeting held with the participation of NESO, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) in Shillong on Sunday said that “The demand for the NRC-like exercise is nothing new. The NRC is the need of the hour in the North East to gauge the infiltration problem in the region. The modalities of updating the NRC can be different for different states.”
The government of Haryana has decided to constitute the National Registry of Citizens in its state. The Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Bedi said that the non-residents of India have been living in the country without any permits or identifications, therefore the Haryana state will also constitute NRC to check those migrants.
Interestingly, many political outfits from Maharashtra, Delhi, Meghalaya, Tripura, Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh have now demanded NRC in their states. In Maharastra, BJP has demanded that a similar exercise is held in Mumbai to weed out all the illegal Bangladeshis staying in the city. Manoj Tiwari, the president of the Delhi BJP has also asked for ousting of illegal Bangladeshis and Rohingyas residing in Delhi.
In Arunachal Pradesh, All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has asked undocumented migrants to leave the state within 15 days. They fear that a large number of illegal migrants who did not find their names in Assam NRC may enter the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Despite the shrill opposition of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ against NRC, opinions on the matter have been vastly divided even within their own ranks. For instance, while Mamata Banerjee makes inflammatory comments to polarize the citizenry of Assam along ethnic lines, leaders from the Assam unit of TMC have resigned because of her remarks.
While the central leadership of the Congress party have cast aspersions upon the whole exercise, their state units have come out in support of it. And it’s not only the state unit of the Congress party in Assam that’s supporting the NRC, even the Deputy CM of Karnataka, G Parameshwara, asserted that no foreigner would be allowed to stay in the state without proper documents. Thus, it appears that the central leadership of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ is not judging the mood of the nation correctly.
The National Registry of Citizens has received a positive response all over the country. The illegal immigrants’ issue is one of the most critical challenges in the country’s foreseeable future, which may create massive national security challenges, as it may bring more Islamic terror from across the borders. The general acceptability across the country is not to allow illegal immigrants to use our land to pose a threat to the lives of the citizens of our country.