It’s difficult to anticipate what the post-NRC situation will be. There are many factors involved. If the Supreme Court invalidates 1971 and accepts 1951 as the cut-off year for identifying illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, the whole process would boomerang. Let’s be realistic. Many immigrants declared as foreigners have disappeared—almost a lakh—and the police have failed to trace them. How will they be identified? Whose names will be deleted from the NRC? Is there any arrangement to track down these people?
I don’t think the Union home ministry and the Assam government have any plans to tackle the situation that is likely to arise. It’s difficult to visualise a scenario in the absence of a clear-cut policy. Assuming that the draft NRC published on July 30 will be treated as valid, will there be sufficient time to submit the claims and objections? Will it be adequate to dispose of the hundreds of thousands of claims and objections that are expected to be raised? In order to finalise the NRC, there has to be a timeframe for addressing the claims and objections. More than a lakh cases are pending in the foreigners tribunal and the situation may worsen after the final NRC is published.