Pradip Kumar Bhuyan and his wife, Bonti Bhuyan, met activist Aabhijeet Sarma on a cold day here in 2009. The couple said they wanted to do something to save the Assamese people from becoming a minority in their own land.

“We put our heads together. They drafted a petition, and we filed it in the Supreme Court a few months later. We hoped case number 374/09 would be heard for the cause of Assam,” Mr. Sarma, president of Assam Public Works, a non-governmental organisation, told
The Hindu
. The case took a decisive turn when it was handed over to a Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Nariman on April 2, 2013. The Bench’s directive made the government undertake the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens, 1951, in Assam in September 2013.

“Various political and social organisations have been cashing in on the issue of Bangladeshis for 33 years without any intention to solve it. This often led to the harassment of people with beard and skullcaps. We wanted this to end,” Mr. Sarma said.

He said Assam would get a clearer picture when the final NRC was prepared.

The Bhuyans chose not to comment.

“They prefer to be in the background,” one of their associates said.

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