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NRC unrest warning

As July 30 deadline for publication of final draft NRC approaches, tension mounts in Assam

Rupam Nandi Purkayastha speaks in Silchar on Wednesday. Picture by Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee

Silchar: Consequences will be "extremely dangerous" if genuine citizens are left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), said Rupam Nandi Purkayastha, adviser to the All Cachar Karimganj Hailakandi Students' Association (ACKHSA), on Wednesday.

Purkayastha told reporters here on Wednesday that the state, which is already on tenterhooks over the NRC issue, will witness a state of unrest if the names of genuine citizens are left out.

He said they were now waiting for the second draft of the NRC, which is slated to be published on July 30 this year. "We hope that the names of all the genuine citizens will feature in the NRC, or else we will have to go for protests/movements on a massive scale for our rights and existence," he said.

He suspected that the NRC update process is being used as a medium to snatch the citizenship of Bengalis, especially those in Barak Valley. "A section of elements is trying to interfere in the process so that Bengalis of this valley are deprived of their citizenship," he said.

A majority of the names of Barak Valley people were missing from the first draft of the NRC published on the midnight of December 31, 2017. This caused a lot of resentment among the common people of this part of the state.

Purkayastha said the association would provide legal help, particularly to those belonging tom the economically weaker section of the society, whose names would be missing from the NRC.

About the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which is not being listed in the monsoon session of the Parliament, he said they are dissatisfied with the way the matter has progressed.

"Why is the matter being delayed so much?" he asked, and strongly demanded that the bill be positively placed in the winter session.

The bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2016, aims to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.

Purkayastha also demanded that Barak Valley be separated from Assam and urged the masses to raise their voices. "It will be better if the valley is separated from the state," he said.

Members Subrata Das, Sukumal Das, Biswajit Deb and Nikita Banik were also present.

Sadhan Purkayastha, a member of the Citizens' Rights Protection Co-Ordination Committee, said he suspected that the names of at least 10 lakh people of Barak Valley would be missing from the NRC.

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