Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Aug 2018 10:37:24

THE cantankerous resistance to National Register of Citizens (NRC), now being implemented in Assam, by Opposition parties apart, there is no denying the fact that it tackles an issue as important as national security in a candid administrative manner. The number of 40 lakh plus people having been kept out of the NRC may be a matter of debate and discussion and subsequent resolution. Factually, however, the NRC touches upon a very critical subject of how countless lakhs of people from other countries have been allowed to sneak into the country through decades of planned and deliberate negligence by people in power and how the NRC exposes all those people. 

The number of people that would be kept out of the NRC ultimately may be brought down after some time for genuine reasons, but the fact remains that the country has countless lakhs of people who have been living here without a legal sanction. The process of formalising the National Register of Citizens, thus, addresses a real issue that the country must tackle tomorrow if not today. And this process will have to be carried out not just in Assam but in the whole country, no matter what the Opposition parties have to say about it.

There is no doubt that this issue of illegal residents is a security concern, and they cannot be allowed to be in the country unofficially. It is common knowledge that Assam has been one of the States affected badly by lakhs of foreigners seeking unofficial residence in India. For the past three decades and more, the Government has been concerned about the issue. The process of formalisation of the NRC, therefore, was ordered by the previous Government. All the Modi Government did was to complete it with a sense of focus. To that extent, the effort of the Opposition parties to blame the NRC on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is nothing but a politically-motivated plot to glean an undue advantage of the situation.

The seriousness of the issue cannot be missed. For, more than fifteen years ago, the Government of Maharashtra also had initiated a similar process, though not in a formal manner of an NRC. That exercise had led the Mumbai Police to conclude that there were at least 50,000 illegal residents in Mumbai. The Government, then, had initiated the process of sending them out and back to the countries of their origin.

It is necessary that the Opposition parties do not play an ugly blame-game in the case of Assam’s NRC and understand the actual security implication of the issue. This is one area in which no political manipulation should be allowed -- by anybody, the Government or the Opposition. For, it is one area in which what is involved is not just the vote-bank politics, but also the security threats that emerge from illegal foreign residents anywhere in the country.

Let alone the details that might have gone out of control, a similar issue is ravaging the United States as well at this very point in time. His methods might have been wrong, according to some, but the United States President Mr. Donald Trump has made it clear that the problem of illegal residents can be sorted out easily by people in other countries by not seeking an unofficial entry into the country. In fact, this issue began raising its head in many countries of the world when countless millions of people were facing the misfortune of having to flee their respective countries.

In Assam, the issue has a dirty dimension -- that the people in power have allowed lakhs of foreigners to reside in India illegally to form a vote-bank. This practice has to be brought to end, and the National Register of Citizens seeks to achieve exactly that. By any standard, this is a national cause and interest.