Assam NRC: MEA reassurance to Bangladesh on citizens' list unnecessary, won't end influx or help in deportation

It might be diplomatic courtesy on India’s part for the Ministry of External Affairs to ‘reassure’ Dhaka that the Assam NRC draft is a legal fiat and not a government initiative.

Oops, it is the Supreme Court, our hands are clean.

People queueing up at an NRC Sewa Kendra. PTI

People queueing up at an NRC Sewa Kendra. PTI

Frankly, there was no call for any of this. Beyond that, there is absolutely no cause to explain anything let alone give away assurance. By doing so the MEA has actually lost a moral point in that it has underscored the fact that Bangladesh has a role in all this. How it does since those missing from the list may have three generations ago crossed the border as 1971-72 refugees are not acknowledged by their ‘mother’ country. You cannot say these are not our citizens but we will bleed concern for them.

It is not as if they are ready to accept their return or their nativity. Consequently, what are we assuring them about? By the same token by sending out this explanation we are letting the cat at least show its paws out of the bag if not all of its feline self in that we are establishing grounds that there is an issue involving present and former Bangladeshi citizens and the illegal alien problem. In some way conceding space for no logical reason by indicating that Dhaka has sound reason to be concerned about its citizens. We are not answerable to Dhaka and for better or worse it is our issue and after surrendering the point needlessly we are now covering it up by finding virtue in Bangladesh absolving us of responsibility.

According to the official bulletin, we are in ‘close touch’ with the authorities across the world’s most porous borders. For what? To stop more influx? No. To accept the aliens already in mainland India? Not so. Then exactly what purpose is this intimate contact serving and why are we setting it up to the light? There is not even mention of a joint upgraded border patrol to deter aspirants.

Then, according to MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar we have eagerly comforted Bangladesh that this is a draft and not the gospel or the holy grail. It baffles the mind why the need to go into this torturous elaboration. How would it matter in texture if it was the final list? Would Bangladesh be willing to open its gates to a reverse influx of those who might want to take the trek? Do not see any sign of it.

And while it is comforting that the MEA believes that the present impasse will not ruin the ‘excellent’ relationship with Bangladesh (why should it, since they have no role in all this) there are several giveaways in this development of bringing Dhaka into the mix and assuaging its fears.

The worst perhaps is the swiftly blurring line between Indian Bengalis and illegal Bangladeshis and whether we accept this premise or not if we take the Kerala incident as an illustration where a murder of a student by an immigrant sparked outrage against ‘Bengalis’ a few days ago the cruel fact is that India is getting confused. It was widely reported in exactly this fashion and that is grossly unfair. Besides being hugely dangerous.


Updated Date: Aug 10, 2018 17:28 PM

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