Assam’s Citizen Registry: Are We Out of Ideas on Tackling Migration?

POV

Assam’s Citizen Registry: Are We Out of Ideas on Tackling Migration?

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander

T

he list is finally out. More than three crore people in Assam have been waiting for years to find whether they make the cut as a citizen or an original inhabitant or a settler or an illegal immigrant. Forty lakh of those people are today going to be disappointed.

The state’s draft National Register of Citizens will include only those as Assam citizens who can prove that they were living in the state on or before March 21, 1971. The register has got its first update since 1951, ostensibly to weed out illegal Bangladeshi migrants, but the move has been criticised as a way to target Assam’s Muslim population. There are calls for peace, but the state is fully aware of the consequences this might have, considering 23,000 paramilitary troops have been posted in Assam and the neighbouring states of Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur to contain any outbreak of violence.

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