Former Vice Chancellor of Assam University in Silchar, Topodhir Bhattacharjee has once again stirred up the hornet’s nest by another inflammatory write-up on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam.
This time, the former Vice Chancellor of Assam University has penned an article in English titled ‘If Assam is for Assamese and Bihar for Biharis, then India is for whom?’, published in National Herald.
In this yet another controversial and igniting write-up that may flare up communal discord, Bhattacharjee alleged that the two NRC lists published so far classify people in Assam as ‘original inhabitants’ and ‘non-original inhabitants’.
He further alleged that the entire process of updating the NRC in Assam was for ‘excluding as many linguistic minorities as possible’.
He further accused NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela of ignoring established historical and anthropological details.
“Bengali-speaking people in Assam became the prime target through a predetermined and over-centralized process in which constitutionally guaranteed rights were taken away and basic human rights and democratic norms were trampled,” Bhattacharjee further viewed.
The former Vice Chancellor who had been quite vocal in recent times on NRC also alleged in the write-up that a large number of officials engaged in the NRC updating process were ‘invariably hostile and worked pro-actively against the Bengali-speaking applicants’.
It may be recalled that earlier in July this year, a wide section of Assamese media, social media and various ethnic organizations took strong objection to an opinion piece penned by Bhattacharjee.
The accusation against Bhattacharjee was that his article, published in the Kolkata-based Bengali daily Aajkaal on July 3, tried to provoke the Bengali community, against the majority community of Assam, the Assamese, at a time when the State is undergoing a sensitive phase triggered by the ongoing update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Notably, a case was also filed on that occasion at the Dispur police station in Guwahati against Bhattacharya, alleging that he was ‘indulging in criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc’.