Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said on Monday that his government would think of bringing an Assam-like National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the hill state.
Rawat’s statement has come after at least three chief ministers of BJP-led states, including Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar and Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adityanath and Jharkhand’s Raghubar Das, have pushed for the implementation of the citizens’ registry.
“We will see if it is needed here it not. But yes the talks about NRC in the country is very much justified because for long a section of intellectuals has been saying that many illegal migrants have come here. We would surely discuss it in the cabinet meeting before it is implemented,” Rawat said.
Rawat made the statement during an event in the capital city of Dehradun after being asked by reporters if NRC will be brought in Uttarakhand as well.
“As Uttarakhand is a border state with international borders, illegal migration is a serious issue here,” the chief minister said.
Last year, Rawat had said that “Rohingya or Bangladeshi, infiltrators would be thrown out of the state.”
The Congress party said Rawat’s statement on NRC was just a “political gimmick.”
“The statement is just a political gimmick to divert the attention of the public from real issues like unemployment, poor medical and education facilities among others. There is no development in the state under this BJP government and he is talking of implementing NRC,” the vice-president of Congress’ state unit Suryakant Dhasmana said.
“People are dying of dengue in the state. He has not been able to fight this outbreak and is talking of fighting infiltration which is laughable,” Dhasmana said.
“If he is talking about NRC then he should also tell us if agencies have caught even 50 infiltrators under his rule so that the public knows that it is a serious issue in the state,” he said.
Historian Shekhar Pathak said Rawat was “towing the lines of the BJP government at the Centre” by talking about NRC.
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“It is a politically-motivated statement to support the agenda of the RSS and BJP. With NRC, they are targeting a community by branding them non-Indians. If it is so then why are they lauding Indian origin people contesting elections in countries like the US and UK. Tomorrow, if those countries talk of ousting them, then what will they do?” he asked.
“CM should first focus on the actual issues of the state like education, health, job before talking about NRC.”
The final NRC in Assam was published on August 31 and excluded more than 1.9 million people as part of an exercise to identify legal residents and undocumented immigrants. The list in Assam was updated after 68 years and ended four years of painstaking work and decades-old demand seeking detection of illegal immigrants.
The first NRC was prepared in Assam in 1951. It was updated since 2015 following directions from the Supreme Court. The demand for identification of illegal immigrants, deletion of their names from voter lists and deportation started in 1979 and led to a six-year agitation. A draft of NRC was released in July 2018 and had left out four million applicants.