Assam NRC list

No major concern for Bangladesh: Analysts

Diplomats and analysts have assured that there is no major cause of concern for Bangladesh regarding the publication of National Register of Citizens (NRC) list in Indian state of Assam on Saturday. Expressing their opinion over what might happen now since the list excludes over 19 lakh, analysts observed that India surely has some alternative thoughts over this huge number of people who have been living in Assam for a long time.

“There is still scope for appeal. It can be assumed that the Indian government will never try to pushback such a huge number of people to Bangladesh,” they said. They also said that since India’s ruling BJP termed these Assam citizens ‘Bangladeshi’ at different times, we should observe the situation keenly. Bangladeshi representatives, if necessary, can talk to Indian government.

Contacted over the issue, Dr Delwar Hossain, Professor of International Relations Department of Dhaka University said, “What is happening through the publication of NRC in Assam is not affecting Bangladesh, rather people of India are suffering. However, we have to remain alert, because in the past, India had tried to send many of its citizens to Bangladesh by declaring them illegal. Therefore, Bangladesh has to be more careful this time. ”

Former foreign secretary Wali Ur Rahman said, “Bangladesh has to overlook the situation. The hope is that a few days ago, Indian Foreign Minister S Jayshankar while visiting Dhaka had said that this is an internal issue of India. So, primarily we need to keep confidence over his words. Diplomatic strategies is changing now. No major problem can be solved through disputation anymore.

"The relationship between Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh is good. Our PM is scheduled to visit Delhi in October. She surely would raise the issue at that time. Moreover, Sheikh Hasina and Modi will meet in a sideline meeting during the UN General Assembly this month. The issue might be raised at that time also,” he added.

Zakir Hossain, a law department professor of Chittagong University, said, "A country like India will never desert 19 lakh of its citizens. End of the day, these citizens might be allowed to stay in Assam. Maybe they won’t get the franchise. If there raises any possibility of pushback, the issue can be resolved through negotiations.”

M Sakhawat Hossain said, "I think with the publication of the NRC list, another Rohingya situation has been created in Assam. In Myanmar, the Rohingyas were deprived of their citizenship in the Constitution of 1982. They were told that they had no ‘proof’ of their citizenship. The Rohingyas lagged behind in education as they were mainly engaged in farming and fishing. They did not feel the need to keep any ‘proof of citizenship’ as they had been living in Myanmar for generations.”

“The same situation prevails in Assam. Now, those who were left out of the list, they will have to struggle for years to regain their citizenship. What will happen to their houses and lands during these years? It cannot be ruled out that the majority of the population will buy their land at a nominal price. Then where will these people live, what will they eat, and how will they run for citizenship in court? ”

Mentionable, the issue was dealt as the most important agenda during Indian Foreign Minister’s visit to Bangladesh, and also during our home minister’s Delhi visit. Meanwhile, surveillance in border areas including Sylhet, Sunamganj and hilly areas of Dinajpur has been increased after the list was published in Assam Saturday morning.