Dangerous rhetoric

Political parties must stop feasting onthe complexities of Assam’s demography
In the week since the final draft of the National Register of Citizens in Assam was completed, the political rhetoric has got irresponsibly away from the issue at hand. Those associated with the preparation of the NRC, including its Supreme Court-appointed coordinator, Prateek Hajela, are at pains to point out that the draft is by no means the end of the road. The more than 40 lakh people whose names are missing from the draft have a graded appeals process ahead, first at NRC seva kendras. Failing rehabilitation on the list at this stage, they can appeal to district magistrates, the Foreigners’ Tribunals, the Gauhati High Court and the Supreme Court. It is a long and daunting process, and a mature polity would ensure that that no man, woman or child is stranded without legal and other assistance to deal with the paperwork. Instead, a full-blown political spectacle has unfolded, with parties trivialising the complexity of the process. The president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Amit Shah, has filled the air with challenges to Opposition parties, particularly the Congress, to spell out their stand on “Bangladeshi immigrants” and clarify if they want them “to stay here or evict them”. Sundry BJP leaders have talked in favour of an NRC in every State, giving a threatening denominational twist to the issue. And West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, seemingly as willing to court her own political constituency over the NRC draft list, has warned of a “bloodbath” and a “civil war”.
In fact, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, of the BJP too, has implied as much, while counselling calm. Equally, the shrill politics at the national level is holding India back from facing the necessary questions: can it genuinely heed its civilisational legacy without issuing an assurance that nobody who has lived for a long time in this land will be rendered stateless? And that the country is confident of finding a way to close this process without disadvantaging those who will be off the eventual list and those on it?
Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/dangerous-rhetoric/article24618721.ece

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