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. All Assam Students’ Union, Anti CAA protests and lack of women’s representation,
    Countercurrents, Feb 7, 2020/ Sutputra Radheye
  2. Assam NRC exercise and citizenship determination drive hold warning to other states of the shape of things to come, Firstpost, Jan 30, 2020/ Angshuman Choudhury
  3. CAA-NRC Has Set Off Dangerous Identity Politics in the Northeast, Freedom Gazette, Jan 21, 2020/ Prasenjit Biswas
  4. The Indian State’s approach to CAA-NRC is flawed, Hindustan Times, Jan 21 2020/ Suraj Gogoi
  5. Does the CAA legalise exclusion?, People’s Review, Jan 20, 2020/ Prasenjit Biswas
  6. CAA and Laws in the Making in Northeast India, Newsclick, Jan 20, 2020/ Prasenjit Biswas
  7. Can Assam Look Beyond Ethnic and Regional Politics?, India Cultural Forum, Jan 10, 2020/Suraj Gogoi & Rintu Borah
  8. Isn’t NRC Elitist And Patriarchal? Looking At National Identity Through A Feminist Lens, Youth Ki Awaaz, 23 Oct 2019/ Pooja Kalita
  9. NRC: The state as a dehumanized machine, The Telegraph, 14  Nov 2019/ Bhargabi Das
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Why Assamese are against CABMumbai Mirror, 11 Dec 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  15. Why is the Indian state shockingly blind to the problem of statelessness?, Scroll.in, 30 Oct 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  16. Psychology behind NRC mirrors narrow, dominating side of Assamese language, and its fragile nationalism, cultural identityFirstpost, 20 Oct 2019 / Suraj Gogoi
  17. The NRC’s spillover effect, Himal Southasian, 14 Oct 2019 / Suraj Gogoi & Rohini Sen
  18. How my mother briefly became an illegal immigrant in IndiaChannel NewsAsia, 10 Oct 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  19. Patriarchal Worlds of Contemporary Assamese Nationalism, Raiot, Sep 13, 2019/ Pooja Kalita & Prithiraj Borah
  20. A narrow nationalism againThe Hindu, 12 Sept 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury & Suraj Gogoi
  21. Re-contextualising the NRC: A Response to Hiren GohainCountercurrents, 10 Sept 2019 / Suraj Gogoi & Angshuman Choudhury
  22. Counting to Segreggate: Behind Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC)South Asia Journal, 6 Sept 2019/ Angshuman Choudhury
  23. The State needs identity politics so that its agenda can surviveThe Telegraph, 6 Sept 2019 / Rintu Borah & Suraj Gogoi
  24. The NRC signals a deeper crisis of citizenshipHindustan Times, 3 Sept 2019 / Suraj Gogoi
  25. What the spam dossier on journalists and activists covering NRC tells us about Assamese SupremacyNewslaundry, 28 Aug 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury & Suraj Gogoi
  26. National Register of Citizens (NRC) – A Synonym for Deep AnxietyThe Citizen, 19 Aug 2019 / Abhinav P Borbora, Suraj Gogoi & Angshuman Choudhury
  27. Miyah poetry row: How to read public statements against the backdrop of the backlash, Firstpost, Aug 08, 2019/ Yengkhom Jilangamba
  28. Miyah poetry row in Assam: Analysing the pushback through lens of attitude towards marginalised, Firstpost, Jul 30, 2019/ Gorky Chakraborty
  29. Ex-Assam guv SK Sinha’s report on illegal immigration in state is riddled with contradictions, dubious dataFirstpost, 29 July 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  30. Language Games of Assam: The Mainstream vs the MarginsIndian Cultural Forum, 17 July 2019 / Parag Jyoti Saikia, Suraj Gogoi & Angshuman Choudhury
  31. Mainstream ‘progressives’ in Assam are actually liberal hegemonsNewslaundry, 16 July 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  32. What Hiren Gohain’s bitter criticism of Miyah poetry tells us about Assamese nationalismFirstpost, 6 July 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury & Suraj Gogoi
  33. Miyah Poetry Weaves a World of Suffering and Humiliation in Contemporary AssamThe Wire, 3 July 2019 / Suraj Gogoi
  34. Miyah Poetry in the time of  Nationalism, The Wire, 14 Jul 2019, Rintu Borah & Prithiraj Borah
  35. Complains of low exclusions from NRC reflects a mode of thinking, Countercurrents, 17 Sept 2019/ Abhinav P. Borbora
  36. Home Minister Amit Shah expands Foreigner Tribunals across IndiaAsia Times, 14 June 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury
  37. With Anti-Immigrant Stance, Are We Becoming A ‘Gardening State’?The Quint, 13 June 2019 / Suraj Gogoi & Angshuman Choudhury
  38. In the Guise of Protest Music, Assamese Artists Churn out Hate SpeechThe Wire, 9 May 2019 / Suraj Gogoi & Abhinav P Borbora
  39. What Do Walls in Guwahati Tell Us About Its People and Their History?The Wire, 14 April 2019 / Samyak Ghosh & Suraj Gogoi
  40. Debate: The Real ‘Burning Questions’ of AssamThe Wire, 14 March 2019 / Suraj Gogoi, Parag Jyoti Saikia, Gorky Chakraborty & Abhinav P Borbora
  41. It’s time we talk about racism in AssamNewslaundry, 5 Feb 2019 / Suraj Gogoi
  42. Citizenship Bill: JPC report shows how proposed law violates constitutional principles of equality before lawFirstpost, 25 Jan 2019 / Angshuman Choudhury & Jonmani Das
  43. Citizenship Determinational Processes in Assam: The NRC and BeyondInstitute of Peace and Conflict Studies (Special Report), October 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury (pages 5-8)
  44. Tinsukia killings: After almost a decade of relative calm, Assam faces threat of violence over ethno-nationalismFirstpost, 17 Nov 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury
  45. Underprivileged risk losing citizenship in India’s NRC driveAsia Times, 1 Aug 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury
  46. My Mother Can Fight Her NRC Exclusion, but What About the Rest?Bloomberg Quint, 1 Aug 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury
  47. The NRC and Legal Voids in Statelessness in IndiaThe Envoy, 11 July 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury
  48. NRC Assam: Sarbananda Sonowal, Himanta Biswa Sarma warn ‘illegal foreigners’ but overlook constitutional obligationFirstpost, 4 May 2018 / Angshuman Choudhury
  49. Assam Against Itself: A Reply to Sanjib BaruahLSE South Asia blog/ Suraj Gogoi, Gorky Chakraborty, & Parag Jyoti Saikia
  50. Narrow Assamese identity thrives amidst shameful citizenship processAsia Times, 9 Jan 2019/ Suraj Gogoi
  51. Strikes have become test-cases for freedom of space in AssamAsia Times, 23 Jan 2019/ Suraj Gogoi
  52. A lack of citizenship will produce second class citizensAsia Times, 7 Feb 2019/ Suraj Gogoi
  53. Dissent over citizenship bill causes havoc, Asia Times, 8 Feb 2019/ Suraj Gogoi and Shyamal Chakma
  54. Professor  Hiren Gohain, Let’s talk about Assam againThe Wire, 13 Feb 2019/ Gorky Chakraborty, Suraj Gogoi and Paraj Jyoti Saikia
  55. Citizenship Bill: The other in AssamThe Statesman, 25 Feb 2019/ Suraj Gogoi  and Prasenjit Biswas
  56. Waiting for citizenship: a global phenomenaAsia Times. 12 Mar 2019/ Suraj Gogoi and Paraj Jyoti Saikia
  57. In Assam, Nostalgia shelters Assam Gana Parishad’s flexible regional beliefsThe Wire. 21 Mar 2019/ Suraj Gogoi and Abhinav P. Borbora
  58. NRC Updation Ends: 19 lakh Indians are not Indians anymorePune Mirror, 1 Sept 2019/ Suraj Gogoi
  59. The silence of the media: National Register Of Citizens in Assam, Newslaundry, 2 Jul 2018/ Parag Jyoti Saikia & Suraj Gogoi
  60. The rise of Philistines in Assam, Newslaundry, 16  Jul 2018/ Parag Jyoti Saikia & Suraj Gogoi
  61. How NRC legitimised xenophobia and chauvinism in Assam, Newslaundry, 2 Aug 2018/ Parag Jyoti Saikia & Suraj Gogoi
  62. A Reply to Dr. Hiren Gohain, Countercurrents, 11 Aug 2018/ Suraj Gogoi and Parag Jyoti Saikia
  63. NRC Muddle: vigilante students union and India’s borderlands, Asia Times, 23 Aug 2018/ Suraj Gogoi
  64. NRC and Intellectual Racism, Sabrang, 29 Aug 2018/ Suraj Gogoi and Parag Jyoti Saikia
  65. Re-imagining Assamese identity under the shadow of NRCAsia Times, 31 Aug 2018/ Suraj Gogoi
  66. A Register most flawedFountain ink, 8 Oct 2018/ Parag Jyoti Saikia & Suraj Gogoi
  67. Intellectuals shaping a Narrow Homogenous identity in Assam, Asia Times, 29 Oct 2018/ Suraj Gogoi
  68. 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.