GUWAHATI, Nov 15 – The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has asked Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to clarify whether the indigenous people of Assam would have to launch a violent movement for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951.
AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya pointed out that the indigenous people of Assam have been launching a non-violent movement for a long time for updating the NRC, but the Government suspended the process of implementing the pilot project within hours of an organization launching a violent protest. This makes one wonder whether the Government gives more weight to violent protests than non-violent movements, he added.
Giving the background of the decision to update the NRC, Bhattacharya said that the decision was taken in a tripartite meeting to review the implementation of the Assam Accord on May, 5. 2005. The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh decided that the process of updating the NRC would be completed within two years, but the promise remained on paper only. Only this year, the Union Home Secretary GK Pillai convened another tripartite meeting where it was decided that a pilot project for updating the NRC would be launched in two revenue circles –Barpeta and Chaygaon and the process would be completed within December. But the Government suspended the process of implementing the pilot project within hours of an organization launching a violent protest.
The AASU adviser pointed out that the Minister in Charge of Assam Accord Implementation, Dr Bhumidhar Barman recently announced in the State Assembly that the pilot project would not be completed by December, which proved that the State Government is not sincere in updating the NRC in the interest of keeping the vote bank of Bangladeshi nationals intact. He said that the Government even formed a Group of Ministers (GOM) to look into the matter and though the GOM convened a meeting with 26 organizations representing various ethnic groups of the State on September 28, the meeting was cancelled at the eleventh hour without any prior notice.
Bhattacharya said that on November 13, the AASU staged a mass Satyagraha in Guwahati to demand implementation of Assam Accord, suspension of construction of mega dams and updating of the NRC. But till date, the Government did not respond to the agitation, which proved that the State Government is not willing to pay any respect to non violent movements. He announced that the AASU and 26 other organizations would hold a mass rally in Guwahati on November 20 on the same demands.