New Delhi: Suhas Chakma, Director of the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) while releasing its report, “Foreigners in Assam a Blast from the Past”, stated that the reports of the Census of India, Government of India clearly state that there was a mammoth influx of immigrants from 1901 to 1971 but no noticeable influx of foreigners into Assam in the post 1971 period, the cut-off date for recognition of migrants as citizens of India being 24th March 1971.
The report stated, “As per the Decadal Variation in Population Since 1901 to 2011 of the Census of India, from 1901 to 1971, Assam’s average decadal population growth rate was 23.95% against All India’s average decadal population growth rate of 12.90%. For a period of 70 years i.e. 1901 to 1971, the average decadal growth rate of population in Assam (23.95) was almost double of All India (12.90) and it changed the demographic character of Assam. But, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) had accepted the immigrants of this period as citizens of India under the Assam Accord.”
The report further stated, “The Census of India’s Decadal Variation in Population Since 1901 to 2011 also states that Assam has consistently registered lower decadal population growth than All India during 1971 to 2011 and Assam recorded average decadal population growth rate of 20.90% against All India’s average national decadal population growth rate of 21.94% during the same period”.
“In fact, from 1971 to 2011, Assam had the lowest average decadal population growth rate in the North Eastern region with Nagaland having the highest average decadal population growth rate of 42.52%, followed by Mizoram with 35.14%, Arunachal Pradesh with 31.25%, Meghalaya with 30.88%, Manipur with 27.78%, Tripura with 24.27% and Assam with 20.90%. Indeed, Assam is the only State in the North Eastern region which had lower average decadal population growth rate than All India while all other North Eastern States had higher average decadal population growth rate than All India.”- the report also stated.
“If abnormal population growth rate as reflected in census reports is the determinant for identifying influx of foreigners, Assam had not witnessed any noticeable influx of foreigners in the post 1971 period. At least, major influx of foreigners into Assam in the post 1971 period is not supported by statistics of the Census of India.”- stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of the RRAG.
Commenting on the exclusion of 41,10,169 persons from the draft NRC, the report stated, “As per the Decadal Variation in Population Since 1901 to 2011 of the Census of India and estimated population of Assam and India for 2018, the total absolute number of increase of population in Assam during 1971 to 2018 was 2,03,93,248 persons. If 41,73,169 persons excluded from the draft NRC are all foreigners, Assam’s population of the citizens in 2018 would have increased by 1,62,20,079 persons only from 1971 to 2018. In that case, the average decadal population grown rate of Assam would further fall to 17.1% against average All India’s decadal population growth rate of 22.4% during the same period”.
“There is no plausible basis to consider that average decadal population growth rate in Assam would be 5.3% less than that of All India’s average decadal population growth rate from 1971 to 2018. Assam’s lower average decadal population growth rate than All India and the North Eastern states during the period unequivocally suggests that majority of those excluded from the NRC are actually Indian citizens but suffering the brunt of the anti-foreigner sentiments in the State as a consequence of mammoth influx of migrants from 1901 to 1971 and due to the absence of documents, which must be dated before 24th March 1971.” – also stated Mr Chakma.
“The process of identification of foreigners is part of administration of criminal justice and illegal entry of foreigners is a penal offence carrying maximum punishment upto five years under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946. The Blackstone’s ratio in criminal law provides that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer. But, as per the data of the Census of India, the NRC of Assam appears to be punishing an overwhelming majority of Indian citizens while identifying negligible number of foreigners.” – asserted Mr Chakma.