SC seeks Centre, EC response on plea to update NRC in Tripura

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea by Tripura People’s Front (TPF) seeking updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Tripura.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph sought the Centre and EC’s response as petitioner Tripura People’s Front had pressed for identification and deportation of illegal migrants.

Besides the Centre and the EC, the notice has also been issued to the state government and the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.

Seeking direction for updating the NRC, the petitioner organisation has contended that the exercise in Assam was necessitated due to the persistent illegal influx problem that has plagued the state for over three decades now.

“Tripura is worse placed. The uncontrolled influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh to Tripura has caused huge demographic changes which earlier was a predominantly tribal state but now has become a non-tribal state,” it said.

The petitioner — an outfit of indigenous people — has contended that it is necessary to identify illegal immigrants, remove them from electoral rolls and deport them for restoring the “socio-economic, socio-cultural and socio-political equilibrium of Tripura”.

Pointing out to the court that on three sides it is surrounded by Bangladesh and has a porous border, the petitioner organisation has said: “The indigenous native tribal people of Tripura are in a disadvantageous position and they are not in a position to come individually to the court.”

Seeking their deletion from the NRC and deportation of illegal migrants, the petition has contended that the Central government cannot pick and choose states for updating the citizen register.

Informing the court that the presence of a large number of Bangladeshi immigrants has affected the right of indigenous people to preserve their own culture, it has said that the aboriginal people have been reduced to a minority of 31 per cent.

The petitioner organisation has contended that the presence of such a large number of illegal Bangladeshis in Tripura is a threat to national integration as well, as it has upset the demographic balance in the region.

At present, about 6,92,154 refugees are living in refugee camps in the state and another 1,50,000 with their relatives, the petition points out.