Batting for 1951

Friday, 26 February 2021



Batting for 1951

Swapnil Bharali | February 07, 2018 18:58 hrs

Amidst the current brouhaha of Advantage Assam in our awesome Assam, the Supreme Court of India is set to deliver a vital verdict on 6th February that might just create a massive population of “new foreigners” with figures in the teeming millions. News filters in that a completely revamped bench of judges (read one that does not have Justice Ranjan Gogoi on it for whatever reasons) will decide whether the much deliberated cut-off year for illegal migrants would remain 1971 as per the provisions of the Assam Accord or 1951 to keep parity with the rest of the country.


To keep things logical, the cut-off year just has to be 1951 simply because 1971 does not have the requisite credentials to be so important. An accord signed as a culmination of a 6-year long agitation between an association of students and the home ministry that never had legal sanction of the Indian parliament amounts to being just a memorandum of settlement more than any piece of law. An armistice, so to say. The accord has not been of much use to Assam and its non-implementation has been cause of much heartburn among debating circles on AV media. Yes, we did get our refinery and universities but more than that, the accord has done nothing more than shape a few spectacular political careers.


What essentially I want to offer is a perspective from a logical standpoint. 1951 would mean that the Indian Constitution and law, always glorified to be equal for all Indians, would guarantee this factor. Just one state from the whole Indian union – Assam – having a different cut-off date purely to pander to historical blunders of earlier regimes, would actually necessitate a separate constitution by itself for the state for the simple reason that the law would not be the same for us.


The worrisome fallout of this verdict would obviously be the teeming millions (estimated at 80 lakhs) who would suddenly become foreigners and would necessarily have to be driven out from the state. This would mean huge human displacement that would tantamount to uprooting well-entrenched trees. Given such a Catch-22 situation, the Supreme Court faces one of its most ticklish verdicts even as a lot of us bat for 1951.

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