Assam Governor says NRC's biggest success is stopping influx of illegal Bangladeshis into state

The authorities have initiated a process giving opportunities to those excluded from the NRC to prove their citizenship.

Published: 24th February 2019 03:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th February 2019 03:36 PM   |  A+A-

Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi (File | EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi Saturday said the roll-out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh has resulted in "totally containing" fresh influx of Bangladeshis into the state.

Mukhi also said that the Centre was speeding up work on completely sealing Assam's land border with Bangladesh and that the riverine portion of the frontier would soon be put under electronic surveillance to stop any illegal migration from the country.

READ | Centre committed to complete NRC within stipulated time: Rajnath after SC rapping

"Illegal migration from Bangladesh has totally stopped because of the NRC. It is the biggest achievement of the NRC process. The government is committed to identify illegal migrants living in Assam," Mukhi told PTI.

In July last year, Assam released the draft of the NRC, a list of people who proved they came to Assam by 24 March 1971, a day before Bangladesh declared independence.

READ | Former Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung, 47 former civil servants write to government on NRC, Citizenship Bill

The list excluded nearly four million people, triggering widespread anguish and intense agitation in several parts of the Northeastern state.

The authorities have initiated a process giving opportunities to those excluded from the NRC to prove their citizenship.

To get their names included in the NRC, residents in Assam have to produce a specific set of documents to prove that they or their families were living in India since the cutoff date or before.

Lakhs of people fled to Assam during the 1971 war between India and Pakistan and the influx continued thereafter.

READ | NRC an electoral gimmick: Mamata Banerjee

The infiltration of Bangladeshis, mostly Muslims, through the porous Indo-Bangla border has been a serious issue for Assam since early 1980s when the state witnessed a massive students' movement demanding deportation of the illegal migrants.

Mukhi also asserted that the Centre was "fully committed" to protect the interests of all indigenous communities of Assam.

"After roll-out of the NRC, it is now impossible for an illegal Bangladeshi to obtain (India's) citizenship. The foreigners have been identified. It is a major success," said the governor.

The Assam governor also attributed the Modi government's close relations with Dhaka and economic growth of Bangladesh as reasons for Bangladeshis not coming to Assam illegally.

On the NDA government's promise to seal Assam's frontier with Bangladesh, Mukhi said around 93 per cent of the border has already been fenced and that work on remaining portion is being done at a fast pace.

Assam shares 263 km of border with Bangladesh which include riverine.

READ | NRC a "waste paper", should have been linked to voters list: Former Assam CM Gogoi

Asked about fate of the illegal Bangladeshis identified under the NRC process in Assam, Mukhi did not give a direct reply but indicated that some of them may be deported to send a strong message against any illegal migration to India in future.

The governor said surveillance on riverine patch is being carried out using latest electronic gadgets.

The Assam governor chose not to comment on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill which sought to relax citizenship rules for Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities from several neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh.

The Lok Sabha had passed the bill but it could not be tabled in Rajya Sabha during the budget session of Parliament.

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