NRC not enough, unfurl national flag to show that one is an Indian: Assam CM

Published on Jul 21, 2022 09:54 AM IST

The NRC, first prepared for Assam in 1951, was updated under Supreme Court’s supervision in a bid to remove illegal citizens in Assam

Opposition parties slammed the chief minister for his comments. (File image)
Opposition parties slammed the chief minister for his comments. (File image)

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said application for inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is not enough to prove citizenship, but one should unfurl the national flag to show that one is an Indian.

“No one should forget to fly the tricolour from August 13 to August 15. Applying for inclusion in NRC as an Indian citizen isn’t enough. Only by unfurling the national flag one can prove they are true children of Bharat Mata,” Sarma said at an event on Tuesday.

“Therefore, everyone should go to their nearest ration shops and procure the tricolours for 16 each. It won’t be provided for free because as true Indians we shouldn’t accept national flags given by others and buy it ourselves to unfurl,” he added.

Also Read: Assam CM files criminal defamation suit against Manish Sisodia

Sarma had made the comments at an event where he had gone to inaugurate a 25MW solar power plant at Udalguri.

He repeated the same request on Wednesday at the launch of another 25MW solar power plant at Boko.

Assam government is aiming to unfurl around 8 million tricolours by residents across the state on the occasion of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav commemorating completion of 75 years of India’s Independence.

“There are some who say that inclusion of their names in NRC will prove they are Indians. While inclusion in that list may legally prove you are an Indian. But unfurling of the national flag and considering India as your motherland will show one’s sentimental attachment to India,” Sarma said on Wednesday.

The NRC, first prepared for Assam in 1951, was updated under Supreme Court’s supervision in a bid to remove illegal citizens in Assam.

The final list submitted in August 2019 after a four-year process left out 1.9million applicants. The Register General of India is yet to formally notify the list and several petitions including one from Assam government are pending in SC seeking its review. The process for re-application by those left out of the list is also yet to begin.

However, comments made by the chief minister did not go down well with the opposition parties.

“It’s a silly comment and a political one. We are not giving it much importance. Sarma has no jurisdiction to comment on NRC as its not state matter and the process was completed under SC supervision,” said Md Aminul Islam, organising secretary of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).

“The CM’s comments are unfortunate. NRC is a document which was prepared with everyone’s agreement to end Assam’s illegal citizens’ issue once and for all. But BJP is using it as a political tool. If Sarma feels NRC has no value, he should file a petition in SC saying flying tricolour is enough to prove citizenship,” he added.

Congress stated that the CM’s comments coming at a time when the state is witnessing one of the worst floods in history show that he lacks empathy for the affected people.

“Many in Assam are hugely affected by floods and are fighting to get their lives back to normal. Buying tricolours may not be the most important thing for them at present. “People shouldn’t be forced to show their patriotism by unfurling the national flag,” said leader of opposition Debabrata Saikia.

“The CM’s comments aren’t proper. NRC is a separate issue to prove citizenship and all of us agreed on its implementation when the process started. But now they are finding faults with everything related to it,” he added.

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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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