NEW DELHI: Amid widespread disquiet over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Sunday chose to defend it, saying the exercise brought clarity on the number of illegal immigrants in the state. He called the NRC a base document for future reference.
He said that prior to it there was guesswork on the number of illegal immigrants in the state that “had fuelled panic, fear and vicious cycle of lawlessness and violence”.
The CJI, who was addressing a gathering in Delhi at the inauguration of veteran journalist Mrinal Talukdar’s book Post Colonial Assam (1947-2019), said the NRC is neither a “new or a novel idea” as it found expression as early as in 1951 and the current exercise is merely an attempt to update the 1951 NRC.
“The NRC is not without contestations. Let me take this occasion to clarify. The NRC is not a new nor a novel idea. It founds expression as early as in the year 1951 and in particular context of Assam in the year 1985 when the Assam accord was signed. In fact, the current NRC is an attempt to update the 1951 NRC,” he said.
“There was an urgent need to ascertain the number of illegal immigrants,” he said. Gogoi criticised “armchair experts” who, he says, have present a highly distorted picture of the process, thereby hurting Assam and its development.