Saturday, June 19, 2021

Assam NRC coordinator files plea in top court seeking re-verification of draft

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The coordinator for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Hitesh Dev Sarma, has filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking a complete, comprehensive and time-bound re-verification of the updated draft as well as the supplementary list of NRC as some “glaring anomalies of serious nature” were detected in the process.

The application sought re-verification to be done under the supervision of a monitoring committee preferably represented by a district judge, district magistrate and superintendent of police.

While the updated NRC was released in August 2019, a draft of the list published in July, 2018 had excluded nearly 4 million of the 33 million applicants.

“Out of the names of 4,007,719 people excluded from the draft NRC about 393,975 people didn’t file any claims and therefore their names are in the exclusion list of NRC. After some sample checks now and analysis of the names of those people who didn’t file claims on the basis of surnames only, it was found that 50,695 people were apparently eligible for inclusion in the NRC,” the application stated.

“Out of this, 7,770 people are from Original Inhabitants category and 42,925 people are from other states. This figure may increase if detailed re-verification is done. For a flawless and complete NRC, names of these people have to be included in the final NRC, failing which the final NRC will lose its acceptability,” it added.

The application added that some undeserving people may have been included in the NRC list by wrongly claiming to be Original Inhabitants of Assam.

In Assam, as per the Assam Accord of 1985, anyone who has been staying in the state prior to March 24, 1971, or can establish lineage to people residing on or before that date is considered as an Indian citizen—a requirement also accepted for inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951, which was updated in 2019 as per SC directions and under its monitoring.

Names of around 1.9 million people who failed to prove their or their ancestor’s residency in Assam on that date and those who were declared foreigners by foreigners’ tribunals (as well their relatives) were excluded from the NRC published in August 2019

The BJP has maintained that the updated NRC is faulty as it has included dubious people and excluded genuine citizens and needs to be re-verified.

The process has remained stuck as the NRC office is yet to issue rejection slips to those left out, allowing them to file fresh appeals for inclusion in foreigners’ tribunals. The final NRC list is also yet to be published by the Registrar General of India.

“Our view on NRC is very clear. We want 20% re-verification of the list in districts bordering Bangladesh and 10% re-verification in other districts. If after that, the NRC is found to be correct, the state government would accept it and take the process forward. But if the NRC is found faulty after re-verification, we would want the Supreme Court to view this issue critically,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said at his first press conference as CM on Monday.

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