Morigaon/ Kokrajhar (Assam): Ratna Das got married and moved from Bangladesh’s Mymensingh district to Morigaon district in Assam in 1963. After she and her husband, Abhay Das, spent seven months in a refugee camp, they were granted “home migration certificates” by the deputy commissioner (DC).
Sixteen years hence, when the Assam Andolan gathered momentum, the couple fled to Tripura and returned after the uprising ended in 1985. However, despite being legally “admitted” into India, the couple’s names have now been struck off the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Thousands with valid papers find no place in Assam’s draft NRC
Das is not alone. Nearly 10,000 people across Assam, with valid home migration certificates, find themselves out of the draft NRC released on 30 July.
“There are cases where the DC of Goalpara issued home migration certificates in 1964 stating that the people have migrated from Bangladesh. These entries and certificates are, however, not being recognized by the NRC authorities and we do not know why that is so,” said a senior Assam state government official, requesting anonymity.
Those who had been left out will have to approach the NRC authorities to get clarity on the matter, according to experts.
“There are 15 documents that are accepted by NRC authorities. The border police has a grievance cell and if the people have any confusion, they should approach the border police before it is too late,” said Nani Gopal Mahanta, head of the political science department of Gauhati University.
The presence of “illegal immigrants” had led to severe law and order problems in the state, former Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta told Mint. “First, the illegal migrants enrolled their names in electoral rolls, then they started grabbing land of the ethnic Assamese and the indigenous people started suffering especially in areas such as Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon,” the former chief minister contended.