Why it is necessary to explore to solve the challenges of NRC in a humane way?
The debates about the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam have become too polarizing. It has been argued that an administrative register based on material proof of origin won’t be able to record the nuances of the cultural roots of a land and its people.
While a section opposes the NRC tooth and nail; the other appeals to look at the history and conditions leading up to the NRC.
Arguments of those opposing NRC
Hindutva and Xenophobia against Muslims
The NRC is projected as a case of “xenophobia” against Assam’s Muslims in the light of the Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2016. These arguments turn their blind eye to the history of struggle against illegal migrants in Assam. This struggle was not based on religion but on grounds of culture and geography.
This argument looks at the global precarity of labour created by globalisation. The argument is based on the fact that globalisation benefits from the vulnerability of labour.
Arguments of Civil Society of Assam
The civil society of Assam is appealing to understand the history and conditions leading to the NRC, conditions over which the Assamese hardly have control. They agree to the fact that there have been attempts to hijack the whole exercise by a few politically motivated groups. But they argue that these vested interests must not become an excuse to belittle the whole exercise which is inching towards logical conclusion after struggle of decades in the state of Assam.
Need for a Humane Approach
Rather than polarising debates India needs to develop a humane way to deal with the problems. The rumours about detention camps must be addressed as they evoke unpleasant, inhuman images which one has only read about in history books.
It is also important to underline the fact that the deportation is not an option and must work out viable solutions.
If India looks for granting of workers’ permit, then modalities such as what would be the nature of that permit? must be addressed in common minimum points of agreement.
Also if those excluded are to be settled in the country, then Assam alone cannot bear the pressure, all the other states should come forward.