Bengali Organization Opposes 1951 as Base Year

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All 3 factions if the All Assam Bengali Youth Students Federation on Sunday strongly objected to setting 1951 as the cut-off date for the National Register of Citizens (NRC), fearing that many belonging to their community will be unfairly left out of the list.

If 1951 is given as the cut-year for the NRC, many Bengalis will be left out of the NRC, the Bengali organization observed. The body further said that many of the Bengalis had come to Assam after 1951, and the NRC authorities had wantonly stricken off the names of Bengalis due to “communal bias”.

“The Bengalis support the Assamese people’s demand for constitutional protection and every “jati” has the right to it. However, the Bengali body said, other communities should not be harassed in the process”, said Mahadeb Das, one of the leaders of the organization.

Till now, there is no designated base year for the NRC, the Bengali body said, adding that the cut-off date tends to fluctuate between 1951 and ’71. Raising objections to the assigning of 1951 as the base year, the organization said that just like the Citizenship (Amendment) Act violates the Assam Accord, the setting of 1951 as a cut-off year would also infringe the same document.

It may be mentioned that several indigenous groups, student organizations, religious and literary bodies, and NGOs want the NRC to have 1951 as the cut-off date to detect foreigners instead of March 24, 1971. The final NRC list, published on August 31, left 19 lakh, people, including a very high percentage of Bengali Hindus, “stateless”. Meanwhile, the authorities are running the filter before the list is sent for formal notification by the Registrar General of India and all districts have been instructed to check the list for “irregularities”.

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