6 deaths in 13 days after the additional exclusion list of NRC is published in Assam

TCN News

People whose names have been excluded in the draft list and the additional list of NRC (National Register of citizens) in Assam are distraught and some have taken the extreme step of ending their lives. The additional list was published on June 26 leaving out nearly 1 lakh from the NRC while the draft list published earlier had excluded 41 lakhs of people.

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News of a teenage girl Noor Nehar Begum committing suicide on the same day the additional list was out; sent waves of anguish to the already distressed residents of Assam who have been anxious and distressed all the time about their residential status.

Noor Begum – her picture in the ration card

The Bengali speaking Muslims in Assam are living in perpetual fear of being declared foreigners all the time. The death toll has now risen to 57 people with the recent 6 deaths after the additional exclusion list.

While Noor Nehar Begum, 17 years, committed suicide when she was informed that her name was not in the additional list, Zabeda and Anwar’s 40 days old infant died due to heatstroke as the parents were in the queue from 3 long hours at the NRC office which is 50 kmts away from their home just to correct a spelling error in the name of Zabeda’s sister.

Noor Begum’s name was not in the NRC draft list published last year on July 30, 2018. When the additional list was once again published this year June 26th 2019, the confused family not aware that this list was just an extension of the draft list and that the names in this were not final. And when Noor was informed that her name was not in the additional list, she thought she will be taken away to the detention camp. The fear of being sent to the detention camp forced her to take the extreme step according to her father Kalam who is a poor daily wage labourer in Ramwari Chapri village .

And another daily wage labourer Abedin from Dumerguri village committed suicide because he was told by some people that the names of his family would be included in the list if he paid a huge bribe. Unable to afford the huge sum, he hanged himself on 3rd July.

Likewise another poor man Rahim Ali of Bantipur village hanged himself from a tree in the forest when the names of his 3 children were missing in the draft list. And Kulsum Begum from Barkhetry hanged herself as she did not have any documents to provide her linkage that would prove she is an Indian citizen.

The latest deaths were yesterday July 8th with twin suicides in Chunpura and Silapather villages of Dhemaji District. Ambar Ali was listed in the D voters’ category while none of his family members’ names were in the draft list. He had been struggling from 1997 trying to prove his citizenship. Depressed, he committed suicide by sitting in front of a running train. Amar Majumder could not prove his citizenship despite having all valid documents. Disappointed and frustrated, he hanged himself.

The death of Zabeda’s child in March 2019 is perhaps the most tragic because it was not just the callousness of the NRC officers but also the people in that village who refused water to the infant.

Fear and tension has gripped the people of Assam whose names have not been in the list and those who are struggling to prove their citizenship and attending the hearings in front of the tribunal as the final list is due to be published this month on 31st July 2019.