Assam: 90% of Alopati Sar inhabitants in draft NRC


GUWAHATI | August 17, 2018:

Once considered as a pocket of illegal migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan, Alopati Sar in Assam has 90 percent of its inhabitants in the updated draft National Register of Citizens (NRC).

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Alopati Sar, in lower Assam's Barpeta district, has been witness to the enforcement of Prevention of Infiltration from Pakistan (PIP) Act, 1964, from the mid-sixties to the early seventies during which police conducted a door-to-door check for infiltrators from erstwhile East Pakistan.

Under the PIP Act, a special border police force of about 2,000 men was raised to stem immigration. Watch posts and patrols were set up along the border, especially at places where there were reports of suspicious activities.

Motiur Rahman, a member of ward 8 in Mazar Sar, said both Alopati Sar and neighbouring Mazar Sar have recorded 90 per cent inclusion in the complete draft NRC. The two areas fall under the Alopati-Mazar Sar gaon panchayat. "I got to know from the local NRC Seva Kendra that 90 per cent population of Alopati and Mazar is included in the draft NRC. This is something we have always anticipated. We are indeed Indians," Rahman added.

"There are a few D (doubtful)-voters here but they say no officials have visited them yet. There are some children and old people whose names have not been included in the final draft. The rest of the people are included," said Nur Mohammed, a retired a teacher at Dr. Zakir Hussein Higher Secondary School.

Locals call Alopati Sar, three hours drive from Guwahati, second Majuli because of its size and omnipresent proximity to the Brahmaputra. Though its inhabitants had settled on the sar during the British Raj, mainland Assam viewed them with suspicion as to them the tag of sar-dwellers was synonymous with illegal settlers.

The inhabitants have land patta dating back to 1904, 1910, 1927, 1935 and 1937. This was confirmed by Gorky Chakraborty, an associate professor and researcher at the Institute of Development Studies, Calcutta, and a Ph.D. holder on the sars of the Brahmaputra, after a meeting on NRC at Alopati Sar in October 2017. He said several inhabitants had at the meeting furnished legal and valid land documents dating back to pre-Independence.

Alopati has always retained an atmosphere of calm as the NRC whirlwind hit the rest of Assam. Before the publication of the final draft NRC, The Telegraph had reported that the inhabitants were confident of inclusion of their names in the NRC.

A faculty at the department of botany at Bimala Prasad Chaliha College at Nagarberra near Alopati, who also served as a verification officer during the first draft of NRC, Nur Alam Haque (59) said, "A majority of our people have their names included in the NRC. This can be attributed to the fact that we have documents dating back to the British rule. The Alopati LP School was started by a person from East Bengal in 1932-33. As a young boy, I had witnessed the enforcement of PIP Act. The riverine areas of Assam have always been disconnected with the mainland which led to a misunderstanding of our people and our culture."

The NRC 1951 is being updated only in Assam to solve its problem of foreigners or illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

Source: The Telegraph

Featured image: The Telegraph