The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a document manufactured by the Government which contains the names of Indian citizens. The updation of the NRC is a periodical process. It requires to be updated at regular intervals so as to ensure proper documentation of the citizens as well as to check possible illegal migration. In Assam, the updation of NRC could not be carried out since 1951 due to several political compulsions. The Assam Movement in 1980’s, the language Movement and such other identity movements fought on ethnic lines have heavily impinged on the system of governance in the state thereby leading to a stalemate on the NRC updation issue. After five decades of the stalemate, the present government has initiated steps to update the NRC under the direct supervision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
Background of migration
The history of Muslims in Assam dates back to the 8th century when, according to some scholars, Turks and Arab traders and sailors came to the Brahmaputra Valley and settled in the Darrang region. After the British annexed Assam as part of the Bengal Presidency in 1826, migrant labourers were brought in from central India to work in tea plantations and this necessitated the production of more food, which the local population could not manage on its own. Moreover, a spurt in demand in the jute market necessitated an increase in jute cultivation in Bengal, which again was not possible. Both these reasons were behind the migration of Muslim farmers of East Bengal to Assam, first in small numbers. But by the turn of the 20th century, there was a huge influx of migrants to the chars, or river islands, in lower Assam from Bogra, Rangpur, Pabna and Mymensingh districts of Bengal.
Is This the First such register?
No, there was an NRC across the country in 1951, but that was based on the Census of that year. and this is the first time it is being revised and only In Assam and it is not based on the census