Society and Identity
The influx of migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan and present Bangladesh has been the one of the most debated issues in Assam, one of India’s northeastern states. The state’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) was first created in 1951 to detect illegal migrants. Calls have been made for an NRC update since the 1980s, when the movement against illegal migration grew in Assam.
The Supreme Court ordered an update in 2013, and a complete draft was published in July 2018. It left the names of four million people off the list. It is anticipated, particularly among the pan-Indian media, that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is known for its right-wing Hindu nationalism, will use this updated NRC to ostracize Muslims in the state. However, to date, most groups, including Muslim organizations in Assam, have supported the NRC update process.
Based on fieldwork and a historical analysis of Assam, this presentation seeks to reveal how different stakeholders in Assam have reacted to the NRC, and why there has been no major opposition to it so far. In doing so, it attempts to identify which people are being recognized as citizens of Assam.