Plea for NRC entry

Groups express insecurity

By Sumir Karmakar in Guwahati
  • Published 16.10.17
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Speakers at the meeting in Guwahati on Sunday. Telegraph picture

Guwahati: Several organisations, representing nearly 40 lakh indigenous Muslims of Assam, on Sunday urged the state government to constitute a committee for their inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) 1951, as original inhabitants. 

“As the migrants, who had entered Assam till March 24, 1971, from East Pakistan, will be included in the NRC being updated as per the Assam Accord, indigenous Muslims are scared of losing their identity as Assamese. Since Clause 6 of the Assam Accord talks about giving constitutional safeguards to the indigenous communities, indigenous Muslims are scared that they will be left out as many have not been included as original inhabitants in the NRC which is being updated. We may also be deprived of land rights as the state government is working on a new land policy for indigenous people of the state,” said Nekibur Zaman, an advocate and leader of the indigenous Muslims.

“Most of the indigenous Muslims are converted from indigenous communities in Assam and are part of the greater Assamese society. We celebrate Bihu and take pride in our identity as Assamese. But as immigrant Muslims from East Pakistan who entered Assam till March 24, 1971 will be included in the NRC, we are facing an identity crisis. We request the state government to constitute a committee to identify the indigenous Muslims for inclusion as original inhabitants,” he said. 

“Indigenous Muslims in 22 villages in Morigaon district have been included in the NRC as ‘original inhabitants’, but there are many who have not been accepted as the same, creating confusion.” 

Representatives of several organisations of indigenous Muslims such as Goriya, Moriya, Deshi, Poimal and intellectuals belonging to the communities met here on Sunday and discussed the concerns expressed over the issue of original inhabitants.

The adviser to Desi Yuva Parishad, A.A.M. Inamul Haque, said indigenous Muslims have their own dialects, but the confusion over “original inhabitants” status had created a sense of insecurity among them.