Defending the National Register of Citizens exercise, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday recommended such an exercise in all States.“The unabated influx from Bangladesh cannot be seen as a standalone problem of Assam. Assam accounts for just a fraction of the total number of illegal immigrants in the country,” Mr. Sonowal said at a seminar, ‘NRC: defending the borders, defending the culture.’ “Census reports also reveal that population increased in the last few decades in many States, including West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Meghalaya, far beyond the national average. So this highlights the intensity of influx of illegal immigrants in India. Even the national capital city of Delhi and other metro cities in India have started experiencing the evil of illegal migration.“Besides being a security risk, they influence politics and eat into the already constrained resources of a developing country. Foreign infiltrators are trying to snatch our rights while staying in our country. This is a big challenge. To face it, I think it is very necessary to have NRC in each State.”He said every State should do it. “If we complete the work of NRC in Assam and if they shift from Assam to another State, what will happen to that State?”He said with the land swap deal with Bangladesh done, the border should be completely sealed. Mr. Sonowal sought to assure the people that government would protect genuine citizens.Started in 1951Speaking after Mr. Sonowal, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said the NRC exercise was started by the Nehru government in 1951 to address the illegal immigration problem. But it was never completed because of “vote bank politics.”Taking a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, he said, “The great grandson should read history.”He said the U.S., with a larger land area and smaller population, was fencing the Mexico border; Saudi Arabia expelled 7500 Pakistanis, who were their co-religionists; and Bangladesh was in negotiations with Myanmar to deport Rohingya Muslims.However, Mr. Madhav invoked India’s “2000-year-old tradition” of giving refuge to persecuted refugees, like the Parsis, and said the country would be sympathetic to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Christian refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh, drawing a subtle distinction between immigrants.Asserting that the NRC exercise was not biased, he said it was Supreme Court-monitored, was transparent as it only sought any one of 15 documents and verified them in digital form from the source. He said that objections could be filed before the final NRC draft came and even after that, those who thought they were wrongly left out could approach the Foreigners’ Tribunal and then the High Court.