In Assam alone, 70,000 persons, who were declared as illegal immigrants, have vanished. They were to be deported, but they have blended with the rest of the population in the country and remain untraceable. 

Before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had submitted that several illegal immigrants had blended with the local population both in Assam and other parts of the country. 

In this context, one must also draw attention to the fact that former chief minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi had said that there is not a single Bangladeshi national in the state. What Gogoi must bear in mind is that a white paper published by his government had said that tribunals between 1985 and 2012 had declared 61,700 persons as foreigners.

Exposing lies:

The Congress today has gone to town along with the rest of the opposition parties creating fear and panic in the minds of the people that the NRC would rob many of their rights. They have even protested the NPR, which is a normal census exercise.

Bhumidhar Burman, the revenue minister of Assam in 2009 had informed the state Assembly that two detention camps would be set up to house illegal immigrants. He said that they were to come up in Mancachar and Mahisashan. It was in 2008 that the process of setting up detention centres began. These detention centres were set up in the jails at Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Tezpur, Dibrugarh, Silchar and Jorhat.

The Congress today claims that the NPR is a pre-cursor to the nationwide NRC. States such as Rajasthan, Kerala and West Bengal staged protests and stopped work on the NPR. All these states had not protested when the UPA was ruling and it set in motion an NPR exercise in 2010.

Documents speak:

The annual report of the ministry of home affairs, published in 2008 when the UPA was in power, says that the determination of citizenship is an involved and complicated matter and that the creation of the National Population Register with a single reference date would be more feasible in the first instance. 

After the NPR is created, it will engulf the UID database being far comprehensive. And this will become the mother database for identity purposes, the report had also said. The report also said that the database will be created using the data in the electoral rolls of the Election Commission of India, PDS and BPL for better targeting of beneficiaries under various government schemes and programmes.

In this context let also take a look at what the UPA had said in the Parliament in 2012. Yogi Adityanath had sought to know the details about the preparation of the NPR. The then minister of state for home, Jitendra Singh, had replied with the details. In the last line of his reply, he said the National Population Register is the first step towards the creation of a National Register of Indian Citizen.

He further said that the NPR would include citizens and non-citizens. It would have photographs, 10 finger prints and 2 IRIS prints of all usual residents, who are of age 5 years and above.

Has the NDA said anything different? 

In the 2018-2019 annual report of the ministry of home affairs, similar points have been addressed. The report says, “India has a long tradition of having regular decennial Population Censuses since 1872. Last Population Census was conducted in 2011. The next decennial Census is to be conducted in 2021 which will be the 16th Census in the continuous series from 1872 and 8th Census since independence.” 

“Timely processing of voluminous data collected at each Census, generating results for the country for use in planning of various socio-economic programmes has always been a challenge. Speedy processing and compilation of Census data has necessitated adopting the latest available IT systems / technology at each Census in the past.” 

Government of India has approved a scheme of creation of National Population Register (NPR) in the country by collecting specific information of all usual residents. NPR is the first step towards creation of National Register of Indian Citizen (NRIC). The demographic data for NPR collected in 2010 has been updated in 2015. Biometric Enrolment of 33.43 crore persons has also been done under the scheme.

The lie on detention centres:

The Opposition has been claiming that detention centres are the brainchild of the current government. As has been pointed out earlier, it was the Congress revenue minister in Assam who had spoken about detention centres back in 2009. The Congress was in power both at the Centre as well as Assam back then.

Bhumidhar Burman, the then revenue minister of Assam had in 2009 informed the state Assembly that two detention camps would be set up to house illegal immigrants. He said that they were to come up in Mancachar and Mahisashan. 

In addition to this, there was a note from the PIB as well which was issued on December 13 2011. It said that a total of 362 declared foreign/illegal immigrants had been sent to the detention camps at Goalpara, Silchar and Kokrajhar until November 2011. It also said that 221 such persons are in Goalpara, while at Silchar and Kokrajhar it was 62 and 79 respectively. This was stated by Mullapally Ramachandran, minister of state of home affairs in the Lok Sabha today (December 13 2011).

It is clear that the detention centres had come up in 2008-09 under the Tarun Gogoi government. Gogoi was forced to act against illegal immigrants after the Guwahati high court said that it is no longer a secret that illegal Bangladeshis have intruded every nook and corner of Assam, including forest land. They have become kingmakers in Assam. The order was passed while directing the deportation of 50 Bangladeshi nations, who had also managed to register as voters in Assam.