Assamese jatiyatabadis (ethno-nationalists) continue to argue that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise that was undertaken in Assam over the last two years was a necessity and must be supported. They believe that an all-India NRC would be disastrous and communal, but the Assam list, which ended up excluding 1.9 million people in its final iteration, has some “nuance” to it, which the “outsiders” do not understand.

This is a view coloured by ethno-nationalist bias. It is the direct outcome of decades of anti-immigrant, xenophobic and chauvinist propaganda pushed into the public imagination of Assam by the mainstream civil society organisations, intelligentsia and political elites. According to this view, Assam faces a demographic, cultural and economic threat from “illegal Bangladeshis”. The NRC, thus, is a much-required tool to identify them.

Ethno-nationalists of all political persuasions continue to hold this view despite the fact that the NRC process led to widespread misery, panic and anxiety amongst the most marginalised and vulnerable of Assam’s communities. The list-making exercise is also part of the same citizenship determination regime in Assam that includes the judicially-twisted Foreigner Tribunals (FTs) and the undemocratic Detention Camps. The distance between the NRC and the horrid interiors of a detention camp isn’t very big.

The NRC in Assam has to be rejected and opposed with the same insistence and ferocity as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 and the prospective all-India NRC. In fact, it is the Assam NRC model that the government will try to emulate across the country while simultaneously building new detention facilities.

Following is a list of articles authored by some of us from Assam on how unjust, segregationist, oppressive and undemocratic the NRC process was. The list is multi-disciplinary and also touches related themes of Assamese ethno-nationalism (from which the NRC derives its core legitimacy), the Indian citizenship framework, statelessness and the recently-enacted CAA.

 

  1. Isn’t NRC Elitist And Patriarchal? Looking At National Identity Through A Feminist Lens, Youth Ki Awaaz, 23 Oct 2019/ Pooja Kalita
  2. NRC: The state as a dehumanized machine, The Telegraph, 14  Nov 2019/ Bhargabi Das
  3. Assam’s NRC consensus: Lack of public disorder after draft didn’t mean absence of violence, Scroll, 23 Dec 2019 / Suraj Gogoi & Abhinav P Borbora
  4. Assam cabinet nod to accord stature of state language to Assamse may striffle growth of other tongue spoken, Firstpost, 23 Dec 2019/ Samyak Ghosh & Suraj Gogoi
  5. AASU return to centre stage as Assamese elites, commoners, repose faith in student body to lead fight against CAA, Firstpost, 18 Dec 2019, Abhinav P Borbora & Suraj Gogoi
  6. Citizenship Amendment Act and NRC are two sides of same coin; both seek to alienate India’s MuslimsFirstpost, 17 Dec 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury & Suraj Gogoi
  7. Why Assamese are against CABMumbai Mirror, 11 Dec 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  8. Why is the Indian state shockingly blind to the problem of statelessness?, Scroll.in, 30 Oct 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  9. Psychology behind NRC mirrors narrow, dominating side of Assamese language, and its fragile nationalism, cultural identityFirstpost, 20 Oct 2019 / Suraj Gogoi
  10. The NRC’s spillover effect, Himal Southasian, 14 Oct 2019 / Suraj Gogoi & Rohini Sen
  11. How my mother briefly became an illegal immigrant in IndiaChannel NewsAsia, 10 Oct 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  12. A narrow nationalism againThe Hindu, 12 Sept 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury & Suraj Gogoi
  13. Re-contextualising the NRC: A Response to Hiren GohainCountercurrents, 10 Sept 2019 / Suraj Gogoi & Angshuman Choudhury
  14. Counting to Segreggate: Behind Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC)South Asia Journal, 6 Sept 2019/ Angshuman Choudhury
  15. The State needs identity politics so that its agenda can surviveThe Telegraph, 6 Sept 2019 / Rintu Borah & Suraj Gogoi
  16. The NRC signals a deeper crisis of citizenshipHindustan Times, 3 Sept 2019 / Suraj Gogoi
  17. What the spam dossier on journalists and activists covering NRC tells us about Assamese SupremacyNewslaundry, 28 Aug 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury & Suraj Gogoi
  18. National Register of Citizens (NRC) – A Synonym for Deep AnxietyThe Citizen, 19 Aug 2019 / Abhinav P Borbora, Suraj Gogoi & Angshuman Choudhury
  19. Ex-Assam guv SK Sinha’s report on illegal immigration in state is riddled with contradictions, dubious dataFirstpost, 29 July 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  20. Language Games of Assam: The Mainstream vs the MarginsIndian Cultural Forum, 17 July 2019 / Parag Jyoti Saikia, Suraj Gogoi & Angshuman Choudhury
  21. Mainstream ‘progressives’ in Assam are actually liberal hegemonsNewslaundry, 16 July 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  22. What Hiren Gohain’s bitter criticism of Miyah poetry tells us about Assamese nationalismFirstpost, 6 July 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury & Suraj Gogoi
  23. Miyah Poetry Weaves a World of Suffering and Humiliation in Contemporary AssamThe Wire, 3 July 2019 / Suraj Gogoi
  24. Miyah Poetry in the time of  Nationalism, The Wire, 14 Jul 2019, Rintu Borah & Prithiraj Borah
  25. Complains of low exclusions from NRC reflects a mode of thinking, Countercurrents, 17 Sept 2019/ Abhinav P. Borbora
  26. Home Minister Amit Shah expands Foreigner Tribunals across IndiaAsia Times, 14 June 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  27. With Anti-Immigrant Stance, Are We Becoming A ‘Gardening State’?The Quint, 13 June 2019 / Suraj Gogoi & Angshuman Choudhury
  28. In the Guise of Protest Music, Assamese Artists Churn out Hate SpeechThe Wire, 9 May 2019 / Suraj Gogoi & Abhinav P Borbora
  29. What Do Walls in Guwahati Tell Us About Its People and Their History?The Wire, 14 April 2019 / Samyak Ghosh & Suraj Gogoi
  30. Debate: The Real ‘Burning Questions’ of AssamThe Wire, 14 March 2019 / Suraj Gogoi, Parag Jyoti Saikia, Gorky Chakraborty & Abhinav P Borbora
  31. It’s time we talk about racism in AssamNewslaundry, 5 Feb 2019 / Suraj Gogoi
  32. Citizenship Bill: JPC report shows how proposed law violates constitutional principles of equality before lawFirstpost, 25 Jan 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury & Jonmani Das
  33. Citizenship Determinational Processes in Assam: The NRC and BeyondInstitute of Peace and Conflict Studies (Special Report), October 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury (pages 5-8)
  34. Tinsukia killings: After almost a decade of relative calm, Assam faces threat of violence over ethno-nationalismFirstpost, 17 Nov 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury
  35. Underprivileged risk losing citizenship in India’s NRC driveAsia Times, 1 Aug 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury
  36. My Mother Can Fight Her NRC Exclusion, but What About the Rest?Bloomberg Quint, 1 Aug 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury
  37. The NRC and Legal Voids in Statelessness in IndiaThe Envoy, 11 July 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury
  38. NRC Assam: Sarbananda Sonowal, Himanta Biswa Sarma warn ‘illegal foreigners’ but overlook constitutional obligationFirstpost, 4 May 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury
  39. Assam Against Itself: A Reply to Sanjib BaruahLSE South Asia blog/ Suraj Gogoi, Gorky Chakraborty, & Parag Jyoti Saikia
  40. Narrow Assamese identity thrives amidst shameful citizenship processAsia Times, 9 Jan 2019/ Suraj Gogoi
  41. Strikes have become test-cases for freedom of space in AssamAsia Times, 23 Jan 2019/ Suraj Gogoi
  42. A lack of citizenship will produce second class citizensAsia Times, 7 Feb 2019/ Suraj Gogoi
  43. Dissent over citizenship bill causes havoc, Asia Times, 8 Feb 2019/ Suraj Gogoi and Shyamal Chakma
  44. Professor  Hiren Gohain, Let’s talk about Assam againThe Wire, 13 Feb 2019/ Gorky Chakraborty, Suraj Gogoi and Paraj Jyoti Saikia
  45. Citizenship Bill: The other in AssamThe Statesman, 25 Feb 2019/ Suraj Gogoi  and Prasenjit Biswas
  46. Waiting for citizenship: a global phenomenaAsia Times. 12 Mar 2019/ Suraj Gogoi and Paraj Jyoti Saikia
  47. In Assam, Nostalgia shelters Assam Gana Parishad’s flexible regional beliefsThe Wire. 21 Mar 2019/ Suraj Gogoi and Abhinav P. Borbora
  48. NRC Updation Ends: 19 lakh Indians are not Indians anymorePune Mirror, 1 Sept 2019/ Suraj Gogoi
  49. The silence of the media: National Register Of Citizens in Assam, Newslaundry, 2 Jul 2018/ Parag Jyoti Saikia & Suraj Gogoi
  50. The rise of Philistines in Assam, Newslaundry, 16  Jul 2018/ Parag Jyoti Saikia & Suraj Gogoi
  51. How NRC legitimised xenophobia and chauvinism in Assam, Newslaundry, 2 Aug 2018/ Parag Jyoti Saikia & Suraj Gogoi
  52. A Reply to Dr. Hiren Gohain, Countercurrents, 11 Aug 2018/ Suraj Gogoi and Parag Jyoti Saikia
  53. NRC Muddle: vigilante students union and India’s borderlands, Asia Times, 23 Aug 2018/ Suraj Gogoi
  54. NRC and Intellectual Racism, Sabrang, 29 Aug 2018/ Suraj Gogoi and Parag Jyoti Saikia
  55. Re-imagining Assamese identity under the shadow of NRCAsia Times, 31 Aug 2018/ Suraj Gogoi
  56. A Register most flawedFountain ink, 8 Oct 2018/ Parag Jyoti Saikia & Suraj Gogoi
  57. Intellectuals shaping a Narrow Homogenous identity in Assam, Asia Times, 29 Oct 2018/ Suraj Gogoi
  58. Latest Killings put spotlight on Assamese nationalismAsia Times, 13 Nov 2018/ Suraj Gogoi

This list is non-exhaustive and will be continuously updated.

Featured image: Tombstone in memory of Ananta Biswas, Abhinash Biswas, Shyamlal Biswas, Subal Das and Dhananjay Namasudra who were gunned down by unidentified personnels in Kherbari in Sadiya in 2018.