File Photo: Debabrata Saikia

Leader of the Opposition in Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia on Monday urged Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to take up with his counterparts in the neighbouring northeastern states the issue of harassment of visitors from Assam post publication of National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Saikia referred to the news reports published recently and said that people from Assam are being harassed in the form of seeking identity cards and documentary evidence of inclusion of their names in the NRC.

He said the people are being harassed while visiting certain neighbouring states, especially Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

“It has been reported that certain students’ organisations of these states, with the cooperation of the respective police forces, are harassing visitors from Assam by seeking documentary proof of their inclusion in the final NRC as a pre-condition for allowing entry,” Saikia said.

He said that a similar incident of harassment and persecution had unfolded in these states after publication of the first draft of the NRC.

“For instance, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya recently revealed in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly that 223 people from Assam were evicted from Meghalaya because they could not furnish documentary proof of inclusion in the NRC,” Saikia said.

He said that the Union Home Ministry has gone on record to assert that non-inclusion in the final NRC by itself does not brand a person as a foreigner.

The Home Ministry has made it clear that the question of citizenship of those omitted from the NRC will be decided by the Foreigners Tribunals and, by implication, the higher judiciary, Saikia added.

“The harassment of residents of Assam in neighbouring states on the pretext of the NRC is absolutely unacceptable in the light of the Central government’s avowed policy,” he said, while urging Sonowal to get in touch with the respective Chief Ministers of the neighbouring states and urge them to desist from this policy of harassment and expulsion of visitors from Assam.

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