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From Our Special Correspondent
GUWAHATI: Leader of the Opposition, Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia has requested Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to urge his counterparts in some neighbouring states of the North East to take measures against alleged “harassment and expulsion” of visitors from Assam following publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC).
In a letter to Sonowal on Monday, Saikia sought to draw the chief minister’s attention to reports in the media that in the post-NRC publication period, visitors from Assam “are being harassed afresh in certain neighbouring states, especially Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram”.
“It has been reported that certain students’ organisations of these states, with the cooperation of the respective police forces, are harassing visitors from Assam by seeking documentary proof of their inclusion in the final NRC as a pre-condition for allowing entry,” Saikia stated.
“You may recall that a similar scenario of harassment and persecution had unfolded in these states after publication of the first draft of the NRC,” he said.
For instance, he stated that the chief minister of Meghalaya recently revealed in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly that 223 persons from Assam were evicted from Meghalaya because they could not furnish documentary proof of inclusion in the NRC.
“Although relevant data is not in hand, yet the situation cannot be expected to be any different in the other neighbouring states. It must be borne in mind that the Union Home Ministry has gone on record to assert that non-inclusion in the final NRC by itself does not brand a person as a foreigner,” Saikia pointed out.
He further stated that the Union Home Ministry has made it clear that the question of citizenship of those omitted from the NRC will be decided by the foreigners’ tribunals and, by implication, the higher judiciary.
“The harassment of residents of Assam in the neighbouring states on the pretext of the NRC is absolutely unacceptable in the light of the central government’s avowed policy. As such, I request you kindly to get in touch with the respective chief ministers of the neighbouring states in question and urge them to desist from this policy of harassment and expulsion of visitors from Assam,” he stated in the letter.